Social Networks Go Private
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.

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