Diaspora Wants to be the 'Anti-Facebook' on Privacy

Lora Bentley
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Check out highlights from Lora's poll of industry experts on the topic of online security.

A group of students from New York University are poised to capitalize on publlic dissatisfaction with Facebook and its seeming disregard for user privacy. Venture Beat reports they have raised more than $120,000 from at least 3,000 contributors who want to back their project, Diaspora. (A quick check of their Kickstarter page on Friday revealed the numbers have jumped even higher.)


Referred to as "the anti-Facebook," Diaspora is a designed to be a "decentralized" social network that actually gives each user control of his or her own information as well as control of if or how it will be shared. The founders' core beliefs are summed up this way:

[P]rivacy and connectedness do not have to be mutually exclusive. With Diaspora, we are reclaiming our data, securing our social connections, and making it easy to share on your own terms. We think we can replace today's centralized social web with a more secure and convenient decentralized network. Diaspora will be easy to use, and it will be centered on you instead of a faceless hub.

Forgive me Facebook (and Google, and all the rest), but I think Diaspora's ability to raise so much money from so many people in so little time (less than a month) may mean more people care about their privacy than your leaders are willing to admit. If users don't trust your company with their info, they won't be slow to find another network that will. Diaspora fits the bill.


Granted, as NYU teacher and researcher Finn Brunton told The New York Times:

We will have to see how widely this will be adopted by the non-nerds. But I don't know a single person in the geek demographic who is not freaked out by large social networks and cyber warehouses of information.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
May 15, 2010 11:22 AM RoseyGlow RoseyGlow  says:

Not only do social networks make it difficult to protect privacy (Facebook in particular), but they subscribe to the philosophy that one size fits all - and that's as big as possible.

My family is trying to maintain a cozy, private site on NING, but there's unrelenting pressure from the company to erode our privacy. They want to make a bigger-the-better site of us.

When we first set up there, they promised they would soon provide a way to turn off that invite a friend function, but never did. Some of the family members just don't get it that if they use the same account across social networks and do the friends thing, they are creating a privacy problem. Now they are ushering in connections to Facebook. ARGGGGHHH!

If Diaspora could make room in their hearts for other kinds of accounts - say, small, cozy, private family groups - then they will be cornering a perhaps smallish, but relieved market.

May 17, 2010 6:09 AM ???? ????  says:

Each individual has to choose the site appropriate for him

May 23, 2010 4:35 AM Pixie78 Pixie78  says:

Hmmm, I had it up to here (quite high!) with Facebook's regular dubious policy changes. I moved to www.folkdirect.com a couple of weeks ago (was featured in the Huffington Post last week). All cool.

Jun 10, 2010 10:08 AM dcrizoss dcrizoss  says: in response to RoseyGlow

There is also another site that is in the works right now too.  It's called switchloop.  They are aiming to create a social network that appeals to everyone.  Users get to choose how they share and who they share with.  You will be able to manage that cozy, private family group!!!  Totally focused on privacy as well as still being able to connect through public avenues of social media.  A seperation of public and private life.  I'm holding out for this one! 

Dec 21, 2010 6:06 AM incliq beta incliq beta  says:

Take a look at http://www.incliq.com - P2P social networking with encryption, etc. Your data is never stored on our server - it's true peer-to-peer. Privacy issues solved!


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