Facebook refused to take down a false Trump ad after a request from Biden’s campaign | Media Matters for America
So let’s start with the obvious — there are lots of reasons not to like Facebook, as a platform and as a company, but in a practical sense they are currently a monopoly. Right now that is where everyone is and people don’t want to move. Google famously proved this with the failure of Google+.
However, with recent events like this from just today for example, it’s more than worth bringing up again. As I see it, there would have to be a coordinated effort to convince people to migrate. It is not enough just to say you should dump Facebook without having a specific replacement in mind. Facebook’s strength is in the breadth and depth of its user base. To create a serious alternative, a fairly significant portion would need to be drawn away in a relatively short time. Future President Warren and a democratic congress might eventually enact laws that will help, but there may still be time to enact some influence that will help bring that change into being.
To be clear — the goal is not to create a progressive version of Facebook, as great as that would be, but to coordinate a broader movement highlighting the flaws and dangers of Facebook and encouraging a migration away to a specific platform which provides the same or similar service without compromising privacy and democracy. We would need to generate a real sense of urgency to leave Facebook while at the same time offering a valid path to follow.
There is also the possibility of creating such a platform rather than co-opting one. That seems a much higher hill to me, but feel free to discuss.
I am offering to be a centralized source for information and discussion. I’m a twenty-year veteran of the Silicon Valley, and as such I have experience in such things. If this is of interest, I will create a space for everyone to access. No site is going to be perfect at this point. It is likely that, if we really want to support this effort, some donation of time to create tools, tutorials, and other means of easing the transition would be needed. Partnering with the organization chosen would likely be needed as well.
Here’s a start — in no way a complete list or analysis, but a jumping off point. This info is based both on my personal experience and in researching the comments of others, though I have at least tried each of these myself. If you have a good candidate that I’ve missed here, please mention it in the comments and I’ll add it to the list.
|sociall.io||Built-in migration from Facebook, Privacy focused, mobile support||no messaging, no groups, no video uploads (embedded videos only), it’s very quiet over there right now|
|MeWe||Privacy focused, allows importing contact list, messaging, public and private groups, events, video upload, feels very Facebook-like||Anecdotally the mobile app has been buggy, but improving, still low content relative to Facebook (but better than sociall)|
|Vero||No ads, no data-mining, video upload||Mobile only, no groups, no events, may charge a subscription fee in the future, more like Instagram than Facebook|
|Diaspora||Privacy focused and decentralized (we could choose to run our own ‘pod’), cross-post to twitter built-in||Sign up is not user friendly (pod wizard helps, but still not ideal), no video upload, no event calendar, mobile app is seriously underwhelming|
|mastodon||Decentralized like diaspora (again we could run our own local instance), video upload supported,||Sign up is not straightforward (similar to Diaspora), no groups (except for by server, that I could see), feels more like tumblr than Facebook|
Some sites I have left off of this list: ello (focused on the niche market of artists), minds.com (nazis, nazis everywhere), steemin (more of a blogging platform, and they still sell your data to advertisers even if they don’t display the ads on their own site)
Please feel free to comment if you’d like to be a part of such an effort. 🙂
Thanks for getting this discussion started! I will followup next week and keep the #FacebookMigration going, starting with a recommendation of which service we might collectively try first.
Rec list, wow! Thank you.
Many great points being made below. I will be compiling them into my diary for next week (Wednesday, probably). One thing I want to add up top here — Encouraging a migration away from FB is also crucial in creating pressure on FB to change its behavior, and such pressure is also required to ultimately support future legislative actions. Despite how I worded the poll, these things are not mutually exclusive.
Final update as this thread approaches the likely end of its moment — some of a tech persuasion have expressed interest in the ‘create something’ approach, in thread and without. If you would be interested in being on that call, please message me.
It is worth it to try to encourage an alternative to Facebook?Yes, Facebook’s policies have damaged our democracy and we must encourage an alternative.78%2373 votesNo, we should try to force Facebook to change. An alternative is not realistic.8 8%254 votesFacebook is fine as it is.0%11 votesAll social media is a travesty.13%