Social Networks Go Private

by Nicholas Pell

Looking for a social network that doesn't own and sell your data? Here are a few -- and the potential drawbacks of using them

Social networks are a lot of fun, but because they're free, they come with one major drawback: You -- or your data, specifically -- are the product that's being bought and sold. In fact, social networks like Facebook and Twitter are notorious for collecting your data and selling it to the highest bidder for marketing purposes. So what are your options for other social networks that don't see you as a marketing opportunity? Not very many, as it turns out, but there are a few.


Ello was famous for attacking Facebook where it hurts: Advertising themselves as the ad-free social network. Everyone lined up to get in on the action. Seats at the table were tightly reserved. That was 2014.

So how is Ello doing now? Well, is anyone you know using it? Probably not. Still, if you and your friends are interested in a greater degree of privacy, you might want to consider a group exodus to Ello.


EveryMe is a social network that works in much the same way as Google+. You arrange your people into "circles" -- so what you post to mom isn't what you post to your college roommate. Best of all, EveryMe firmly believes that your data belongs to you, and they aren't going to sell it to anyone. The easy interface means that if grandma is looking for a social network, this is a good one to sign her up for. Good luck explaining why none of her friends are on it, though.


Another social network that isn't going to sell your data is UmeNow. There are no ads, no tracking and no third-party apps to cause any trouble on the platform. You can use it from your mobile device and organize the people you know into groups. It's not as pretty as Facebook or Twitter, but it's probably a heck of a lot more secure, due to the absence of third-party apps.


Glassboard offers another "all-in-one" app like Facebook. All of your data is kept encrypted in the cloud. They sell your data to no one, and there are no privacy settings because no one can see anything you post unless you specifically authorize them. That might make Glassboard a little more high-maintenance than Facebook, but it also makes it a lot safer.

The Problem With Going Off the Beaten Path

Social networks are really only as good as the people using them. Chances are good that you're not using Facebook because you like Facebook so much; rather, you're using it because that's what everyone else uses -- and what's the point of being on a social network without anybody you know?

As we hinted above, when you go off the beaten path with a social network, the problem is that you're off the beaten path. You won't be able to look up your high school sweetheart and have a chat, because they probably don't use the service you just signed up for.

But then again, maybe that's a good thing.

In recent years, there has been a trend of social networks going private, or offering private communication features. Private social networks, or closed networks, allow users to interact with a select group of people, rather than sharing their posts or messages with a wider audience.

One of the primary reasons for this shift towards privacy is concerns around data privacy and security. Many users are becoming more aware of the risks associated with sharing personal information on public social networks, and are seeking out more secure and private alternatives. Private social networks allow users to control who can see their content and communicate with them, reducing the risk of their information being shared or misused.

Additionally, private social networks can offer a more personalized and intimate experience for users. By allowing users to connect with a smaller, more tightly-knit group of people, private networks can foster deeper relationships and more meaningful interactions. This can be particularly valuable for businesses and organizations looking to build communities around their products or services.

Examples of private social networks include messaging apps like WhatsApp and Signal, which offer end-to-end encryption and allow users to communicate with individuals or small groups in a private and secure environment. There are also social networking platforms like Nextdoor, which allows users to connect with their neighbors and build local communities, and Slack, which is popular among businesses and allows teams to collaborate and communicate in a private and secure environment.

In summary, the trend of social networks going private reflects growing concerns around data privacy and security, as well as a desire for more personalized and intimate social interactions. As this trend continues, it will be interesting to see how it shapes the social media landscape and the ways in which people interact online.

Article: Copyright © Studio One.

Internet & Social Media: "Social Networks Go Private"