Looking for Alternatives To Facebook?

Category: Social-Networking

Are you looking for a way to escape Facebook’s incessant notifications, creepy data mining, and its founder’s disdain for common decency, honesty, and ethics? Wouldn’t it be nice to just share photos, links, music, and news with family, real friends, and like-minded people without Zuckerberg’s surveillance and cajolery? There are some alternative social networking platforms that may suit your needs. Read on for the scoop...

Are You Salivating at the Thought of Leaving Facebook?

From the instant you log on to Facebook, you are bombarded with psychological manipulators that would have Pavlov’s dog cowering in the corner of the lab, whimpering and wetting. Ding! Notifications about likes, reactions, comments, stories, ad nauseum, urge you to click on something that leads to another page, another ad, another psych prompt, “suggested” this and that, and down the rabbit hole you go. Facebook has raised the bar for increasing time spent on its site to a high art – or a debased low, if you will.

There are alternatives to most Facebook functions. Some are piecemeal, so you can roll your own social media toolbox if you like. But you'll have to find all the parts - connecting with the people and organizations important to you, messaging your contacts, sharing photos, posting updates, and getting news from others. Facebook is very good at all of those things, and its massive reach makes it easy to connect and communicate with family, friends, business acquaintances, and people you haven't seen for decades. I'm pretty sure that I'd never have reconnected with many friends from high school and college without Facebook. If roll-your-own isn't your thing, I have some all-in-one social networking alternatives for your consideration too. If you go down this road, keep in mind that you will have to rebuild all of those contacts and networks somewhere else.

Google Photos lets you store unlimited pics and videos for free if you are OK with having your images compressed to 16 Mpixels and videos to 1080p; you can always pay https://one.google.com/about to store them at higher resolutions. Google Photos is available on iOS and Android for your mobile needs and contacts. Sharing images or videos with individuals or groups is easy. You can create albums and control who has access to them down to individual contacts, something Facebook does not support very easily.

Facebook: No Exit?

Getting your photos out of Facebook and into Google Photos isn't that hard. My friend Tara Calishain recently posted a great article on ResearchBuzz called "How to Get Your Photos Out of Facebook and Into Somewhere Else" which goes through the steps for downloading the photos from Facebook, and using Google Photo Sync to stash them in Google Photos. One nice additional benefit is that Google Photos uses AI and image recognition to index your images by keyword, so you can search your photo library by keywords, to quickly find all your cat pics and okra recipes.

Snapchat is great for sharing snapshots and video clips in “stories” that last a short time (up to a day). You can share your daily routine or vacation with individuals or groups, or with anyone on Snapchat. Unlike Instagram, Snapchat is not part of Facebook’s global surveillance net.

If you use Facebook Messenger, there are quite a few alternatives. Whatsapp is owned by Facebook, so you’ll want to steer clear, if your goal is to escape the clutches of that corporate behemoth.

Google’s messaging offerings are something of a confusing jumble right now. On Android mobile phones, there is Android Messages, formerly known as Google Messenger, and soon to be replaced by something called Chat. There are also Allo (another texting app), Duo (for video chats), and Hangouts (which offers text messaging, video chat, and free phone calls). I like Hangouts, but Google will soon be splitting it into Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet.

Apple's iMessage is great if your entire world consists entirely of iPhone users. It can communicate with Android users, but many of the features don't work across platforms.

You may like Signal the privacy-oriented open-source app for Android, iOS, and desktops including Windows, Mac OS, and Debian-based Linux. It supports one-to-one text messages, group chats, calls, multimedia sharing, and more. Unlike regular SMS, Signal encrypts everything, and you can even set expiry times of up to a week on messages.

For news, Twitter is actually better than Facebook or Google News (which is morphing into Google Discover). For all Twitter’s many faults, it shares and spreads news faster than anything else. Unlike Facebook, Twitter delivers ALL the news items published by the news sources you choose to follow. Of course, you have to be careful about the sources you follow; Twitter spreads “fake news” like wildfire, too.

Groups are a popular feature on Facebook, but you can find similar features at Yahoo Groups. In a Yahoo Group, you can connect with family, team members, interest groups, etc. Supported features include group conversations, link, photo and file sharing, polls, calendars, and event coordination.

Some Alternative All-in-One Social Networking Platforms

If you want an all-in-one social networking platform, there are several upstarts worth considering. The trick will be getting other people to join you on a new network. But according to a New Yorker article "The Limits of Friendship," your brain can't handle more than 50 close friends, anyway; the rest are acquaintances of varying distance.

MeWe is a privacy-protecting network that claimed 1 million users and 10,000 daily signups as of April, 2018. It basically has two channels: My World, where you can post things for other MeWe users to see, and Groups, where only contacts can see what each other posts. My World is like Twitter, while groups are like Facebook closed groups. MeWe does not mine or sell its users’ data. Here is a good beginner’s guide to MeWe.

I wrote about Mastodon and members of the Fediverse back in September, 2018. Based upon free open-source software (FOSS) and open communications protocols, FOSSy social networks can be set up and maintained by anyone who has a spare PC to act as a server. Besides Mastodon, which claimed over 1 million users in April, 2018, there are other FOSSY social networking platforms to suit every taste. Visit the Fediverse site to check them out.

Are You Ready to Walk Away?

For many people Facebook is a love/hate relationship. As I mentioned earlier, Facebook has made it possible for me to reconnect with old friends and schoolmates that I've not seen for 20, 30 or 40 years. None of the other social media tools that have come along since the invention of the Web have been able to do that. Myspace, Orkut, Google Plus, Friendster, SixDegrees, Xanga, Digg, Eons, Ping, Ello, Classmates and dozens of others have failed. Sometimes the privacy issues bother me, but even with a combination of the tools listed here, I would find it hard to replicate what I enjoy now on Facebook.

If you do decide to break ties with Facebook, you'll have to decide what to do with the stuff you've stashed there. This Lifewire article How to Shut Down Your Facebook Account gives advice on whether to deactivate or delete your account, and how to download all of your Facebook data before it's permanently deleted.

I'd like to hear from you! What is it about Facebook that bothers you enough to make you consider leaving, or switching to another social networking service? If you've already done so, how it is working for you? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Looking for Alternatives To Facebook?"

(See all 32 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Gertrude M
05 Dec 2018

I used "social media" long before computers were invented. I would write a letter on a piece of paper with an ink pen and mail it to someone, who read the letter. You would think people did not communicate with each other before the 'digital age'.

Posted by:

Bryan Smith
05 Dec 2018

It is ok to leave facebook But you have to get your friends to do the same? And that will be the difficult part.

Posted by:

05 Dec 2018

it's interesting that there's no mention of FB's asymmetric censorship policies as a reason for disenchantment with it, nor of, for instance, gab.ai.

Posted by:

05 Dec 2018

@ Doc

Ejections have consequences. :)

Posted by:

Sheldon Yafuker
05 Dec 2018

No social media use here. What if I want to commit a felony someday?

Posted by:

Jim Horn
05 Dec 2018

Liked this article a lot.

Facebook is a bully and censors what people post, and what I post. I've been in Facebook's jail" twice in six weeks because of my conservative posts that may offend one person who complains while dozens of other people like my posts.

I'm ready to bail from Facebook if I can find one of the new platforms that offers what I need, especially a robust share option and teh ability to transfer my nearly 3000 "friends" from facebook easily..

Posted by:

05 Dec 2018

I use both Facebook & MeWe. More Facebook though as only a few friends have migrated to MeWe and it seems my feed has been taken over by prolific "info warriors" and not much else. My friends have started new groups, but not much activity on them as yet.

I have my Facebook page locked down as well as I can and do not hesitate to block those I see who constantly post argumentative and insulting missives, even friends. I've also weaned myself off daily use.

The only time I get really irritated is when Facebook insists on invading my feed with "suggested" adverts of people or things I may be "interested" in. Most of which I couldn't care less about, they really don't know me as well as they think. I just block or hide them anyway. And I'm not easily swayed being the pessimist I am. I don't mind the ads along the side of the feed as they are easily ignored.

I stay because I too have many friends I've re-connected with and now seem to have some older aged relatives who have learned how to us it. I do enjoy keeping in touch with all of them as we're all spread out geographically to keep in close social contact. Social media will always be a double-edged sword as long as there is money to be made and we're the commodity.

Posted by:

05 Dec 2018

Wish people would stop ripping Facebook. We use it and love it. We have found old friends, old school mates, and military buddies from years past. It's also a great way to set up private pages that only families and close friends can join. It provides a great way to socialize for zero cost.

Posted by:

06 Dec 2018

I almost never am on Facebook, and the more I hear about it the less I feel I'm missing something.

I've needed to go on FB because I've received email saying there was a message for me. For which I had to set up an account. Which brought me invitations from all kinds of people I knew at one time. My feeling about most of them was, "If I wanted to keep in touch with them I'd been been in touch a long time ago." With the very few I've replied to, I wound up engaging in the sort of small talk that bores me at cocktail parties.

More perniciously, FB hijacked my email address book. then the email lists of everyone who was in my address book. As a result I have "friends" in China and Afghanistan, people who in some way were in email contact with people on my list. The multitude of strangers who are my "friends" probably are nice people, but I chose never to accept their invitations because of a lack of time and interest.

I have only so much social energy, and I much prefer to expend it on people I see. Those are my real friends. The others are flickering images on a screen.

Posted by:

Jim Clark
06 Dec 2018

I joined Facebook in 2009. I have enjoyed it and found people as far back as Little League baseball. That's 11 and 12 years old. When the drama got thick I tried Twitter and it was a breath of fresh air. It is still my #1 site I enjoy. All the controversary with FB has made me halfway think about leaving it. Or start a new account with very selective choice in FB friends.

This article came along at a good time for me as I have been seeking a new site to call my #2 social site. I place a lot of confidence in the info Bob Rankin shares. I think I may find something I'm looking for in this article. I'll let you know Bob.

Posted by:

06 Dec 2018

I use Fluff Busting Purity (FBP)
https://www.fbpurity.com/ and Ublock to find and eliminate most of the things I don't want to see. They just disappear. You can add any words you like to FBP and anything having those words will not show up. For me it gets rid of all the posts about peoples cats and dogs along with other items that do not interest me. Many other things you can control with FBP.

Posted by:

06 Dec 2018

My only real problem with the mighty one is the time stealing. Of course it isn't stealing if one gives it willfully, so you can't fault them for that. I took a sabbatical for several months and it was painless although there were times when I thought, "I should post th.. oh yeah". It's a weird yet welcome feeling to NOT access Facebook all the time. I now limit it so that I can have a real life too. It's funny I've never been banned, but I have had a couple of religious rants deleted without being blocked. Maybe I'm not trying hard enough.

Posted by:

Eli Marcus
06 Dec 2018

Hi Bob!
There is a relatively new social media platform that is aimed at artists, or "creators" as they label themselves, for sharing art - Ello.co

when they first launched, I thought they were trying to offer an alternative to FB, but they have since grown and developed basically into a network for artists - professional, amateur, and everything in between. It may not replace FB, but it is definitely a breath of fresh air...

Posted by:

Martin Wilkinson
06 Dec 2018


Posted by:

06 Dec 2018

I use Twitter almost exclusively. My association posts its minutes on Facebook so I go in every three months and look at those and that's it. No interest in it and never really have had. Twitter is much faster, funnier and anything happening anywhere shows up there faster than anywhere else.

Posted by:

06 Dec 2018

I agree - you might try OANN's freetalk24.com. Conservative conversations would not be a problem.

Posted by:

Bob Kinsler
06 Dec 2018

I wish we had something like AOL's Chat rooms again. Then again AOL had a nice social media display for those that remember it.

Posted by:

10 Dec 2018

I like Facebook and read it every day. I have deliberately kept my Friends list small; people from a group that migrated when MSN folded, family and a few others who share an interest. I'm a member of two closed groups, one of which is very large, and the comments on the large one do use up considerable time but they're interesting and sometimes hilarious. It's been a godsend for keeping up with family. My sister and I don't live all that far apart but, for various reasons, are unable to travel so we can exchange news and photos that keep us in touch. It's better, in many ways, than calling long distance because you pick up the little things that otherwise wouldn't get mentioned. As for my grandnieces and grandnephews, I would probably never hear about them at all without Facebook. If everybody migrated, I would happily migrate too but I can't see that happening.

Posted by:

11 Dec 2018

I find FB boring to be honest. Its just not me to want to know who is off to drink coffee etc etc - teens and families with young kids will like it more. Nice for those into it mind.
Twitter is my forte - fast moving and news on he minute.

Posted by:

Jim Horn
03 Jan 2019

I love Facebook's convenience.

I hate Facebook's bigotry and biased censorship. I sometimes post things that are politically provocative (I'm a conservative) and have been placed into facebook's exile several times. I am more than annoyed and am preparing to bail.

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