Mass censorship and the invasion of privacy are mainstays of modern social media, killing the idea of the open and free web.
There are several alternatives to major Big Tech platforms. Some are privacy-focussed, some are more about liberty and free speech. Some are both.
Check out some of these alternatives to the likes of Facebook and Twitter:
An open source social network that champions free speech, individual liberty, and the free flow of information.
Gab uses the First Amendment of the United States constitution as its standard for content moderation and allows written expression that is protected political, religious, symbolic, or commercial speech under the First Amendment.
Gab is one of the few social networks that owns its servers which means it isn’t dependent on third-party hosting companies to stay online.
The platform’s features include groups, lists, and custom emojis. Pro users can also unlock additional features such as the ability to schedule posts, bookmark posts, and create self-destructing posts.
It integrates seamlessly with Gab’s other products which means you can use your Gab account to interact with GabTV (Gab’s video sharing platform), Gab Trends (Gab’s news aggregator), and more.
An open source, free speech-friendly social network that’s built on a decentralized, open source infrastructure.
Minds’ content moderation policy is based on the First Amendment and you can also appeal some content moderation decisions to a Minds Jury which has the power to vote on and overturn these decisions.
In addition to this, you can make your posts resilient to censorship by taking advantage of Mind’s integration with the Permaweb – a blockchain-based, decentralized content storage system from which posts cannot be removed.
Minds lets you monetize your content via tips, memberships, and a rewards pool. All Minds users are paid in Minds Tokens but if you upgrade to Minds Pro, you can also get paid in US dollars, Bitcoin, and Ethereum.
Other notable features include end-to-end encrypted chat and the ability to boost your content with Minds Tokens.
A social network that vows to let its users speak freely without fear of being deplatformed for their views.
Parler states that it’s built upon a foundation of respect for free speech and that its community guidelines are based on Supreme Court and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) precedence.
The platform also vows to protect its members’ privacy and states that all personal data is kept confidential and never sold to third parties.
Additionally, Parler promises that it will not curate your feed. Instead, it gives you the tools to filter your own feed which include the ability to mute or block users and the ability to mute or block specific keywords in comments.
Other features include dark mode, the ability to make your account private, and content discovery tools that make it easy to find new content by username or hashtag.
A privacy-focused social network that promises there are no ads or spyware on the platform. It also has a “Privacy Bill of Rights” that promises users of the site full control over their personal information, content, privacy settings, and more.
MeWe’s privacy-enhancing features include Secret Chats with double-ratchet encryption and enhanced permissions that give users granular control over who sees what.
The platform is also a pioneer in other areas and was the first social network to launch dual-camera support which allows users to simultaneously record using the phone’s inward-facing selfie camera and the outward-facing camera to create a unique double-view video.
Some of its other features include full control of the order of posts in your feeds, the ability to customize your profile based on the groups you’re interacting with, voice messages, and universal tags (which can be used to organize all the content you receive and share).
A platform that’s focused on social, civic, and political networking.
CloutHub has publicly committed to supporting free speech and vowed that it won’t suppress reach or manipulate what users see on its platform.
One of the platform’s main differentiating factors is that it doesn’t focus the user experience on gaining likes and followers. Instead, it brings people together based on the issues they care about.
CloutHub has also committed to the privacy of its members and states that there’s no scraping of internet protocol (IP) addresses or device IDs, no data mining, no tracking where you go, and no sharing of users’ data to outside parties except when complying with lawful orders.
A free, open source, decentralized, peer-to-peer, federated social network that’s powered by the ActivityPub protocol.
The distributed setup means that there’s no centralized authority to censor content. Instead, anyone can start an instance and set their own rules. If you aren’t happy with the rules on a particular instance, you can move to another instance or start your own.
All Mastodon instances are interoperable and can connect with other Mastodon instances and other platforms that support ActivityPub such as Friendica and the video-sharing platform PeerTube. Once connected, users on one instance can interact with posts and accounts from these other instances.
Since Mastodon uses open standards, you can choose from a selection of apps with Tusky, Amaroq, Pinafore, and Whalebird being some of the many that are available.
Mastodon’s standout features include custom emojis, spoiler warnings, the ability to redraft posts, and the ability to set focal points on any images you post.
A decentralized social network that’s focused on letting you own your data and earn money for your content through micropayments.
Micropayments on the platform are direct, instant, and can be made without a middleman which makes them resilient to censorship.
These micropayments also serve as a unique content moderation tool by allowing you to charge users to interact with you. If there are accounts that you don’t want to interact with, simply set a high interaction fee to make it expensive for them to bother you.
Twetch also lets you send encrypted messages to other users via Twetch Chat. These encrypted messages aren’t reliant on a middleman and are encrypted with Bitcoin, AES, and ECIES.
A crypto-enhanced social network which is based on five freedom principles – free speech, free trade, individual liberty, privacy, and security.
Flote has adopted these principles in response to Big Tech’s censorship and use of personal data for monetary gain. It adds that these values have been “proven to maximize freedom and prosperity throughout history.”
One of Flote’s standout features is that Bitcoin wallets are integrated into its app. Flote takes no platform fees which means everything you earn on the platform is deposited into this wallet.
This integrated wallet makes it easy to monetize your content via one-time tips, monthly subscriptions, and paid posts.
Some of Flote’s other notable features include live streaming, live chat, encrypted messaging, and lists.
An open source, decentralized blockchain ecosystem that serves as the foundation for Hive’s decentralized social networking apps (dapps).
Hive is sustained by geographically distributed servers and nodes which makes it censorship-resistant by design.
Since Hive’s dapps are all built on the Hive blockchain, you aren’t limited to a single interface. Your public account details and public posts are stored on the Hive blockchain and are interoperable with all of Hive’s dapps.
Some of the most popular Hive dapps are PeakD and D.Buzz. PeakD is feature-rich and offers topic-based communities, a selection of curated feeds, trending topics, and more whereas D.Buzz is more lightweight and features a single feed with the ability to filter by hashtags.
Hive also has a native Hive Backed Dollar (HBD) cryptocurrency which can be used to send and receive tips via any of Hive’s dapps.