Privacy-Friendly Social Media Alternatives

Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or TikTok, almost everyone has either experienced or come across the effects of misinformation, privacy violations, and online harassment.

In a research study published in the journal Nature Human Behavior, researchers analyzed 30.8 million Twitter messages from 13,905 Twitter accounts to test how feasible it is to profile an individual through their online profiles and interactions with their friends.

Turns out, the team only needed 8–9 accounts connected to an individual in order to create some strikingly accurate profiles. From a social media privacy standpoint, this is particularly concerning.

In light of all this, it can still be tricky to find alternatives to these social media sites, especially ones that care about data privacy, operate ethically, and are fun to use.

Fortunately, we’ve been able to gather a list of five social media alternatives that tick the boxes. Read on for our recommendations…

1. MeWe

MeWe is an alternative to Facebook for the privacy-conscious individual. It describes itself as the “anti-Facebook” with no ads, targeting, spyware and news feed manipulation. Though in many ways, the platform is similar to Facebook in its site interface, with features that include groups, tagging, private chats and content permissions.

MeWe is currently free to use. There is also an option to upgrade to premium or pay for enhanced services such as additional storage and live voice and live video calling.

2. Mastodon

Mastodon was launched in 2016 as an open-source social media platform. Eugen Rochko, a German developer, created it to return control over global communication back to the people. They describe their network like an unlimited number of different Twitter websites.

However, unlike Twitter, Mastodon does not sell user data for their own profit and run advertisements. Supporters contribute donations through their Patreon. Hence, this alternative to Twitter offers increased information security and data privacy.

3. Pixelfed

Pixelfed is a free photo sharing social networking platform and a privacy-friendly alternative to Instagram. The user still has the ability to ‘heart’, comment on and share posts and explore other content creators through a Discover tab. However, it has no third party analytics or tracking and is ad-free. Additionally, there are no pesky algorithms to its feed, with all the photos organized in chronological order.

Similar to Mastodon, Pixelfed is decentralized and anyone can run what is described as a Pixelfed “instance” from a server.

4. Ello

Ello was created in 2014 with a launch manifesto that rallied against social media giants’ data collection and ad targeting. Since then, it has pivoted into a social networking platform less like Facebook and more like Pinterest for creators and fans that have interests in art, photography, fashion and web culture. It has no ads and does not sell personal information.

5. Scuttlebutt

Scuttlebutt is​ a decentralized social network that was founded by Dominic Tarr, a New Zealander who lived on a boat. The name, Scuttlebutt, interestingly comes from sea-slang for gossip. Users can go on the platform and create a profile, post content as well as interact with other users by liking and commenting on their posts. The conversations there range from current events to niche interests.

Currently, it is being developed by an international community through grant funding, donations and volunteers.

Want to learn more?

If you’re interested, read more on the topic of social media ad targeting. You can also follow us on Medium, send us some love on Facebook, and find us on Twitter under the username: @keepitcloaked.

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