More and more people are wanting to leave Facebook, especially after Facebook recently deleted (or “unpublished”) more than 800 pages. On Thursday, Facebook acknowledged that it purged more than 800 Facebook accounts. They said the pages were focused on politically oriented content that violated Facebook’s spam policies. Facebook said in a blog post that it was deleting 559 pages and 251 accounts “that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior.” But the problem is that many owners of those pages don’t understand why they were deleted. Some pages focused on police brutality were removed. Other deleted pages, like Anti-Media, were alternative or independent news sources. And some were pages belonging to individuals who reported on the news, like Press for Truth. It’s unclear if any of these pages will be able to get their accounts back, but many account owners have publicly said they’re not sure why they were deleted. Some lost their Twitter accounts nearly simultaneously.
Facebook noted on its blog post about the purge: “These networks increasingly use sensational political content – regardless of its political slant – to build an audience and drive traffic to their websites, earning money for every visitor to the site. And like the politically motivated activity we’ve seen, the ‘news’ stories or opinions these accounts and Pages share are often indistinguishable from legitimate political debate. This is why it’s so important we look at these actors’ behavior – such as whether they’re using fake accounts or repeatedly posting spam – rather than their content when deciding which of these accounts, Pages or Groups to remove.” Facebook went on to say that many of the pages used fake accounts to make their posts appear more popular than they were, or were actually ad farms. But some owners of these pages have insisted that they don’t fall under the description that Facebook listed. Sites with conservative, liberal, and Libertarian leanings have been removed.
This sudden purge has caused many users to be concerned that they too could be deleted without warning, and has caused businesses to pause and reconsider pushing their advertising and marketing efforts through Facebook. As a result, a number of people are considering alternative Facebook sources. (You can see a list of sites that Facebook purged on Heavy’s story here.)
Here is a list of some of the top sources that people are trying out. If you have tried a site that is not listed here, let us know in the comments below.
Minds is a Facebook clone of sorts that is encrypted, open source, and focuses extensively on free speech. Recently, the site rolled out crypto tokens so users can be rewarded for their participation. You’re rewarded with tokens for your participation, and you can exchange tokens to gain more views if you prefer. You can also send tokens to other channels as tips or for subscriptions. Learn more about how Minds’ tokens work in Heavy’s story here. If tokens aren’t your thing, you can still use Minds solely for its Facebook alternative option.
Minds looks very similar to Facebook in some ways. Each user has a profile page with a header and a profile photo. You can add stories, images, or status updates just like on Facebook, and users can leave comments, share your posts, or vote them up or down. There’s also a newsfeed, where you can see what other people you’re following have posted. You can also create your own blog or group. However, Minds is different in other ways. As one Minds user, OWNtheNWO, pointed out to me on Minds, “liking” a comment or post doesn’t weigh it in importance like it does on Facebook — they still remain strictly in chronological order. Minds also has a blog system similar to Blogspot, in which you can paywall your content. And you can exchange your Minds tokens on the Etherium blockchain for ETH, and then exchange those into whatever you wish, but the tokens aren’t worth a lot yet.
On Minds, you can subscribe to people whose posts you want to see. I’m on there as StephDwilson. If you try it out, give me a follow. You can register for Minds through my affiliate link if you want, which is here or go without an affiliate link here. Once you sign up, you can create your own affiliate link for referrals. It’s an interesting concept.
On Alexa, Mind’s ranking is pretty high: 8,925 globally and 4,443 in the U.S. It was launched in June 2015 by Bill Ottman, John Ottman, and Mark Harding. In May 2017, it raised over $1 million in Equity Crowdfunding. The majority of its visitors (33 percent) are from the United States.
Steemit, the Blockchain-Based Network
Steemit is one of the more popular Facebook alternatives people are trying right now, but in many ways it’s more of a Reddit or Medium clone, housed within a decentralized network. But it’s a solid social networking site to try that believes in freedom of ideas.
Users are allowed to self-censor by flagging (although flagging is discouraged), and they vote on the merits of a post through upvotes, much like you would “like” a Facebook post or upvote a Reddit submission. But the big thing that makes Steemit stand out is that you get paid for your posts in the form of Steem cryptocurrency, based on how many votes your posts get. And you also get paid based on your own curation of other people’s posts, and the upvotes that your comments on posts receive.
There’s a bit of a barrier to entry, but it’s not that tough. If you need help signing up, there’s a great beginner’s guide here. Madeline Stone, who oversees public relations for Steemit, shared some advice on getting started on Steemit with Heavy.com. She advised: “As far as helping people who are joining Steemit for the first time, posting in the introduceyourself tag is a great way to get started — other Steemians will then comment on your post and provide resources for newbies. People can also look for help by posting questions in the #help channel at https://steem.chat/home.”
(Tags on Steemit are the way that you can search posts by topic, similar in some ways to how subreddits work on Reddit. You can use hashtags on Facebook, but they don’t have the same functionality.)
Whereas Facebook has an Alexa ranking of 3 (both globally and in the U.S.), Steemit has a ranking already of 2,515 globally and 3,065 in the United States. Steemit is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and most of its visitors (21.1 percent) are from the United States.
Steemit is still a work in progress, and new features are being added constantly. For example, Steemit recently changed many underpinnings of how the network operates in order to help onboard new users faster. (Sometimes there is a waiting period before a new account is approved.) Stone told Heavy: “Hardfork 20 is going to improve the account creation process and user experience (post editing and voting, specifically) on Steemit and other decentralized apps on the Steem blockchain.”
A press release about the change, which was just implemented at the end of September, reads that this is “a software upgrade that will take the Steem blockchain from its current bandwidth system to a new system based on Resource Credits, or RCs. This upgrade will enable Steem DApps to create free accounts, making it easier than ever to onboard new users and cementing Steem’s lead as the blockchain with the lowest barriers-to-entry… Hardfork 20 also improves user experiences on Steem by enabling unlimited post editing on steemit.com, allowing curators to vote on a post within 15 minutes of it being published (a change from 30 minutes) and putting more rewards back in the hands of curators by removing an unfair advantage that self-voting authors had.”
The recent purge and exodus from Facebook was timed quite well, considering Steemit’s recent changes that make it faster for people to join the network. David Jefferys, Business Development Manager for Steemit, said about the timing: “Steemit is open for business and the timing couldn’t be more perfect with the fragmentation and disenfranchisement pervading the major social media networks.”
There are also sister “apps” to Steemit that work within the Steem blockchain. These include DTube (a YouTube alternative), DMania (getting paid for memes), DLive (for live streaming) and Zappl (a Twitter alternative.) My very first Zap just read: “This is my very first Zappl and I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing,” and it earned me six cents. You can learn more about these apps by reading the Steemit story here. Steemit also has an active “in person” community, including a Steem Creators Conference that’s coming to Las Vegas in mid-April.
If you join Steemit, be sure and follow me and let me know you’re there. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have. I’m on Steemit here.
MeWe is more of a Facebook clone, but it doesn’t have the earning potential that Steemit or Minds bring. For some, this is a disadvantage, but others who want a simpler social media site will prefer this option. Many people are moving to MeWe because it boasts greater security than Facebook, and it has an appealing, easy-to-navigate layout.
When you log into MeWe, you’ll be taken to your homepage, which operates much like a Facebook newsfeed. (This story originally said you would be taken to a MyWorlds page, but that was actually in an older version of MeWe. The new version has a homepage with a newsfeed.) On the homepage, you’ll see posts by all your friends, a photostream, and a chat box where you can talk to people. MeWe also has groups you can join and an Events feature too. You have a notifications icon at the top of the page too, to let you know if any activity has happened related to your posts. Here is what the homepage looks like on dekstop:
Each person also has a profile page, similar to Facebook’s, where you can add a cover photo, a profile photo, and status updates. You can also add fun little anecdotes on a sidebar, including what you’re eating, drinking, reading, watching, or quoting. In that sense, it’s a little reminiscent of the features some people enjoyed on MySpace. In the other sidebar, you can share bio details like your job, college, interests, and relationship status.
Here’s what a group page looks like on MeWe:
MeWe’s Alexa ranking is lower than Steemit’s, coming in at 28,506 globally and 7,300 in the U.S. But it’s definitely growing in interest. David Westreich from MeWe shared some interesting statistics about the site with Heavy. MeWe currently has more than 70,000 groups, and it’s available on iOS, Android, and Desktop in eight languages. MeWe is currently the number 6 trending app in the Google Play Store. Its global appeal is seen in that it ranked number one as the most downloaded app in Saudi Arabia last month.
One of MeWe’s advisors is Sir Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the Web). MeWe will be the first social network to implement Berners-Lee’s “Solid” protocol that gives MeWe users total control of their data.
If you check it out, follow me there and let me know what you think. When I first signed up, I actually got hit by some spam followers that I had to block, so I think that’s a sign that MeWe is growing.
Reddit may be trying to become more of a Facebook alternative. A newer version of Reddit includes profile pages, one-to-one chat features, follow functionality, and more. Some people love this, and others think it’s a little too close to Facebook for their comfort. It should be noted that some people are leaving Reddit due to concerns about censorship, as the QAnon subreddit and related subreddits were recently banned. However, Reddit has said these sites were banned due to harassing someone on Twitter, and has also stood firm about not banning The_Donald subreddit, despite many Reddit users calling for just that.
Is MySpace Still an Option?
You may not realize this, but MySpace still exists and you can still create an account there. In fact, some people’s old MySpace accounts are still there, too. It’s not really clear if anyone’s trying MySpace again after the Facebook issues — they may be gone for good. But it might be worth checking out for nostalgia’s sake at the very least. In June, The Guardian did a story about people who still enjoy using MySpace. However, one dedicated user did say that most profiles on MySpace are abandoned. Meredith Corporation is selling the media brand Time to Salesforce’s founders, Marc and Lynne Benioff. Meredith also owns Viant, which it’s looking into selling. Since Viant owns MySpace, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen to MySpace next.
MySpace has a higher Alexa ranking than you might think. It ranks 4,356 globally and 1,909 in the United States. Forty percent of its visitors are from the U.S.
Path is an app-based platform that doesn’t work with desktop browsers, so if you’re looking for something that works with both, then this won’t be right for you. This app is designed for working with smaller, more interpersonal groups rather than hundreds and hundreds of friends. Users share updates, photos, media they’re using, books, movies, and shopping purchases.
Path’s global Alexa ranking is 63,754. It’s used more in Indonesia than the U.S.
Raftr is a social media tool where users connect based on shared interests. You can connect with people from college or based on shared events. The site also has Rafter:College, which is a private social network for college students only. It works on desktop and mobile browsers and also has an iOS app.
Do you have any Facebook alternatives you’d like to suggest? Let us know in the comments below. This is a developing story and more alternatives will be added.
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