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[liberationtech], Diaspora, and Friendica are more secure alternatives to Facebook.

John Adams jna at
Mon Jun 17 16:44:29 PDT 2013


I'm completely certain that these small, poorly funded projects have hired
massive security teams (as the major social networks do) and provide a safe
alternative to Facebook or Twitter.


On Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 4:13 PM, Yosem Companys <companys at>wrote:

> Slate makes mistake of calling them "more secure."
> YC
> How to Block the NSA From Your Friends List
> By April Glaser and Libby Reinish
> Posted Monday, June 17, 2013, at 11:12 AM
> If you don't trust this guy with your data, there are other
> social-networking options
> After recent revelations of NSA spying, it’s difficult to trust large
> Internet corporations like Facebook to host our online social
> networks. Facebook is one of nine companies tied to PRISM––perhaps the
> largest government surveillance effort in world history. Even before
> this story broke, many social media addicts had lost trust in the
> company. Maybe now they’ll finally start thinking seriously about
> leaving the social network giant.
> Luckily, there are other options, ones that are less vulnerable to
> government spying and offer users more control over their personal
> data. But will mass migration from Facebook actually happen?
> According to a Pew study released weeks before news of PRISM broke,
> teenagers are disenchanted with Facebook. They're moving to other
> platforms, like Snapchat and (Facebook owned) Instagram, the study
> reports. This is the way a social network dies—people sign up for
> multiple platforms before gradually realizing that one has become
> vacant or uninteresting. Myspace, for instance, took years to drop off
> the map. By 2006 Myspace reached 100 million users, making it the most
> popular social network in the United States. But by 2008, Facebook had
> reached twice that number, less than two years after allowing anyone
> older than 13 to join the network.
> Benjamin Mako Hill, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and
> Society, thinks Facebook's ability to connect people and bind them to
> the social network is overrated to begin with. "Facebook didn't exist,
> what, 10 years ago,” he says, and in 10 years, he thinks, “a company
> called Facebook will exist, but will it occupy the same space in our
> culture? That's certainly not something I'm willing to take for
> granted."
> Teens may be turning to Instagram and Snapchat, but those services
> don’t offer the deeper levels of social networking that Facebook users
> are accustomed to, with photo albums, event invites, fan pages, and
> connections to old friends. Ultimately, teens may be smart not to
> consolidate all of their social networking on one platform—but
> Instagram, Snapchat, and some other new flavors of the month all use
> centralized servers that are incredibly easy to spy on.
> But there are other places to go. For years, the free software
> movement has been developing and using social networks designed with
> user privacy in mind. Unlike Facebook, these social networks are not
> hosted by a single entity's privately owned servers but rather by
> volunteers across the world that share server space in order to
> maintain a decentralized, robust network. When a company like Facebook
> hosts the data of more than 1 billion users, it's not hard for the
> government to simply ask for permission to access that data,
> conveniently stored all in one place.
> Gabriella Coleman, a professor of scientific and technological
> literacy at McGill University, points out that companies like Facebook
> would be collecting data on individuals regardless of government
> requests. That's how the vast majority of free online social networks
> make money; they use data mining to sell targeted, contextual ads. "In
> some ways,” she says, “that's the source of the problem, the fact that
> we've just given up all of our data in return for free services."
> Community-hosted, decentralized social media, on the other hand, allow
> people to maintain ownership of their data. These platforms use a
> principle called “federation” to connect a vast network of servers to
> one another. If the NSA wants to collect the data of all the users on
> a decentralized network, it has to contend with a large number of
> disparate server owners who could be anywhere in the world, a much
> more complicated task than issuing a single subpoena or hacking into a
> centralized server.
> "There's a resiliency to having data spread across multiple sites;
> that's the way the web was intended to work, and we need to bring that
> back,” says Christopher Webber, the founder of MediaGoblin, a
> federated, free software replacement for YouTube, Flickr, SoundCloud,
> and other media hosting services. Other projects, like
> (which is similar to Twitter), Diaspora, and Friendica are
> replacements for conventional social media networks, and they work.
> The number of users on federated networks is hard to calculate—again,
> their data are spread out instead of stored centrally—but
> alone counts 1.5 million users.
> PRISM could be the impetus that gets more communities to begin using
> these networks. As of Monday morning, nearly 200,000 people have
> signed a petition that calls for an investigation of the NSA's spying
> program, and last week activists launched, a site that
> offers a menu of options for those looking to "opt out" of government
> surveillance.
> The NSA’s spy apparatus worked because of the centrally owned and
> operated networks we have relied on to socialize. How the PRISM story
> will play out politically remains uncertain, but there are more
> immediate ways for users to regain privacy. Try another social
> network, and bring your friends to experiment with you.  If you oppose
> turnkey government spying, go where the NSA doesn’t have a backdoor.
> Disclaimer: Libby Reinish is an employee of the Free Software
> Foundation, which is a member of StopWatching.Us, a coalition of more
> than 75 organizations calling for a full congressional investigation
> of the NSA's spying program.
> --
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