The Alternative Social Media. That is a phrase which people who have a presence online will be soon be using. With the privacy and censorship scandals surrounding Google, Facebook, Twitter and the other social media giants continuing to swirl, rumblings are now emerging of possible regulation by government entities who have no clear idea of how social media works. This danger to online freedom is now such that the time has come for the market forces to reign in these companies which have abused the public trust. It lies with the everyday people who use the social media services to abandon these platforms and go with the new alternative platforms arising; the ones which have learned from the mistakes of the Social Media Monopoly.
There is no other way to describe it. The ‘Big Three’ of the Social Media world – Google, Facebook and Twitter – are monopolies. Monopolies, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, are companies which hold exclusive ownership through legal privilege, command of supply or concerted action. The ‘Social Media Big Three’ certainly fit that description. They hold a privileged position in being the de facto companies all businesses and individuals turn to when needing to promote a presence online. With this position comes immense power and with power comes the temptation to abuse the trust which has been placed in them.
This abuse of power has certainly happened in the cases of the Big Three with the recent scandals surrounding them which have come to light. Google mines their users’ data in unethical and privacy-invading ways to tailor advertisers’ services to you. Facebook uses its data about its users to allow political campaigns to advertise to users who might be sympathetic to them. Twitter shadowbans users whose views they do not approve of. Youtube punishes channel hosts whose views run contrary to their own or to the government narrative by either engaging in censorship or in demonetization (removing the ability to make money on a video). Twitter also bans, limits or censors users who express views deemed “unpopular” or “offensive” with the topics ranging from the Seth Rich case and the Parkland shooting to simple messages about the Pro-Life cause. The list is endless and growing and the time has come for all those who care about their freedoms, their privacy and their right to free speech to take note and turn to the alternative social media, thus preserving our rights and our freedoms while bringing down the Social Media Monopoly by hitting them where it hurts most: the pocketbook.
With this in mind, here is a listing of some of the prominent leaders in the fast-growing field of the Alternative Social Media, all of whom are well-worth an investment from users seeking to escape the Social Media Monopoly.
The Alternative Social Media
DuckDuckGo – Duckduckgo is a search engine which puts emphasis on protecting the privacy of the users who search through it. Founded in 2008, the search engine’s popularity exploded in June of 2013 after Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA’s spying scandal and its connections to Google. Since then it has become the default search engine for those interested in their search history remaining private. The search engine’s policy of not profiling their users does lead to a non-tailored searching experience which can make locating certain website pieces more cumbersome than that which one might find on Google. However, for those who are concerned with their privacy, that short-term sacrifice is well worth it as a long-term benefit.
Protonmail – This email service, a fast-growing replacement for Gmail and Outlook, has a huge advantage in its favor. It relies heavily on encryption, an online security mechanism endorsed strongly by one of the most tech-savvy individuals in the world: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Add in that its servers are based in Switzerland, a country with diplomatic barriers to honoring U.S. and E.U. search warrants, and it is probably one of the safest email servers in the world today. Still relatively young (it opened to the public in March 2016), this email service has already attracted the business of journalists, especially those engaging in undercover and dangerous assignments such as James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas. That also should speak volumes about the effectiveness of their encrypted email service. Due to its lack of revenue from advertising, there are certain features about the service which require payment from users in order to use, but when taking into account that no one but you and the recipient of your email can see what you send, it rapidly becomes apparent that the relatively cheap cost is well worth it.
Gab – Meet the alternative and major competitor to Twitter. That is probably the best way to describe Gab. Founded in 2016 in response to Twitter engaging in censorship of those users with whom the Twitter leadership disagreed, Gab has also grown quickly since it opened to the public. The services it offers are very similar to what one would find on Twitter, but with a few more added features, such as a paid GabPro option for users which allows them to post longer “gabs” (the site’s version of ‘tweets’), livestream on GabTV (the site’s video-hosting service), more easily verify their profile and many other quirks. The site has received criticism from the liberal and establishment press for its allowance of alt-right figures to use its platform, but the reality is that the site is open to everyone regardless of ideology and the site has made it clear that any legal violations used through the site will be removed, but that the site will not censor individuals for merely expressing opinions or beliefs. It leaves blocking views which users find offensive or hurtful to the users themselves with a blocking feature whereby that particular user will no longer see posts by the individual they do not agree with or find offensive. The free speech-oriented nature of the site is what has made it so popular to date and the ease with which the quirks of the site can be learned makes the social media experience on this site a very pleasant one. An experience where the user is not always looking up at the Sword of Damocles over his digital head, wondering if the site lords will bring it down upon him for expressing an opinion the site lords find distasteful.
MeWe – MeWe brands itself a “next generation social media” with an emphasis on the fact that they are #not4sale and so do not sell or collect any aspect of their users’ information. On an in-depth exploration of the site one will find that it is a curious hybrid of Facebook and Twitter with decency, privacy and respect for social media users as its emphasis. Like the others, it is a relatively new site, having been launched in 2016 and it has been steadily growing, especially on the heels of the #DeleteFacebook movement, thus making it the fast-growing alternative to Facebook. While the site is still working out some bugs, for those familiar with the Facebook layout they should find the transition from Facebook to MeWe to be relatively easy once they make that jump.
You can follow The Instructive Scholar on MeWe at Instructive Scholar.
Oneway – Probably the newest of the new social media platforms listed here, Oneway is probably one of the broadest as well with all the options they give to their users. Founded in January 2018, the site advertises itself as “The free speech and human friendly alternative to Google, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Reddit, Imgur, and Patreon.” and incorporates several elements from all of those social media sites with the ability of its users to blog, post videos, share stories, participate in forum-type groups and simply share interesting articles or observations on their personal profile pages. Its founder and CEO, Derek Peterson, in a recent interview, described his disgust and dismay at Facebook’s manipulative algorithms and experiments and how Oneway was founded to counteract that by not relying on algorithms but by simply allowing individuals the freedom to express themselves and their views with others. Like Gab, users can block or mute fellow users with whom they do not agree from interacting with them, but those blocking mechanisms in no way affect the users’ use of the entire site. Though still working through a few bugs and in the process of making improvements, Oneway is a fascinating social media platform and it ambidextrous ability should give it a unique niche in the Social Media world for years to come.
You can follow The Instructive Scholar on Oneway at Instructive Scholar.
Dtube/Steemit – Video-hosting sites are one of the more difficult Social Media platforms to create, but the new social media platform “Steemit” has successfully created a serious challenger to Youtube with its video-hosting site known as “Dtube“. Cryptocurrency-based, Steemit itself has been described as a “decentralized Reddit” where users who are unfamiliar or inexperienced with cryptocurrencies can begin to learn how it works through posting and curating content on the site. Its blockchain design and serverless architecture makes it almost impossible to censor what is placed on the site and truly opens up the publishing world to free market forces. Though both sites are relatively well-populated, Dtube has become a real viable alternative to Youtube by providing a reliable video hosting service alternative to those who are finding themselves demonetized or censored by Youtube for providing views contrary to those held by either establishment politicians or Youtube’s own leadership.
Others – There are many other alternative social media sites for individuals to explore. A prominent list of these other sites was published in late March 2018 and provide some other great options tailored to what certain users would be seeking. For those wishing to break through the Social Media Monopoly put forward by Google, Facebook and Twitter, all of these sites are worth exploration.
In Closing – The Social Media Monopoly is committing suicide as its blunders grow in number and scope. By alienating the very individuals they once advertised their services to, they are ensuring a slow bleed of users to these other social media platforms. To combat and bring to an end these abuses perpetrated by the Social Media Monopoly, the people should use their free market ability to take their business elsewhere and so join the alternative social media.
© 2018 Grant Dahl & On This Terrestrial Ball. All rights reserved. This material may not be re-published, re-broadcast, re-written or re-distributed without permission from the author of this piece.