What’s the issue?
Globally, distrust in big organisations is growing. Whether it be big oil, big media or big tech, consumers are becoming more and more sceptical about the impacts, both directly and indirectly, that these huge multinational corporations are having on our lives. It seems, however, that there are few corporations who consumers are more suspicious of than Facebook, and Mark Zuckerberg is the poster child for the new world in which we find ourselves, where anybody’s phone or computer can be tapped into at any time, and real privacy is a thing of the past.
Now, I am not saying you should, or shouldn’t, delete Facebook. As a Digital Marketer, I see their networks as incredibly useful tools to reach your audience. Facebook targeting is probably the most specific and direct form of consumer targeting that the world has ever seen, and whether you see that as a good or bad thing is up to you. But the fact is that Facebook (and Google, Microsoft and Apple) collect massive amounts of data on you as a user, which they then sell to advertisers.
Recently, as you may have heard, Facebook has been dragged into a scandal involving a British company called Cambridge Analytica, where they have been accused of using heavily targeted ads to influence the 2016 American election. There are questions over whether Facebook targeting was more of a benefit to Clinton or Trump, but it is a tool that both sides of the political spectrum can use as they wish. With the looming launch of GDPR in Europe, and people becoming more and more concerned about their data and the way that it is being used, a campaign has popped up called #DeleteFacebook on Twitter (and Instagram ironically enough).
Facebook owns everything
If you are someone who wants to boycott Facebook but are scared that you’ll be using a social network on your own, here are some suggestions of places to go to avoid all four of Facebook’s apps, namely Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and Facebook.
Instagram to Snapchat
If you like the idea of sharing pictures, using a story or private message, the most popular application to use would probably be Snapchat. Although Snapchat is more secretive about the way that they use user data, neither do they collect and share data in the way that Instagram does. All your followers have to do is look down their ‘following’ feed, and they can see exactly which posts you’ve liked and which pages you follow. You are also given heavily targeted ads, from which data has been collected from Instagram, as well as Facebook and your browsing activity using Facebook’s online stalking cookie known as the ‘Pixel’.
Snapchat however, is much more private. Yes, they do show you targeted ads, based on your location and what accounts you follow, but your friends cannot see who you follow, what posts you engage with or anything else that you may not want to share. Snapchat gives you the option to share your location with your friends, but you can disable this, or only choose certain friends to share it with. The app even sends you a notification if somebody replays or screenshots your snap.
WhatsApp and Messenger to Telegram
The reason that WhatsApp became so popular when it was released is that it is an encrypted app. The messages that users send are essential, translated into an unfathomable code, and then translated back to the original alphabet when it reaches the device of the receiver. But, ever since Facebook took over the app in 2014, a $19 Billion acquisition, it has been widely speculated that the company is reading every message that is sent through the platform, as they now have access to the encryption engine, this is not outside the realm of possibility.
Telegram is the new favoured application of the pro-privacy crew. It does everything that WhatsApp does. It is encrypted, uses phone numbers as a directory and allows users to say and send what they want. It also has the added availability of ‘channels’ and ‘supergroups’. Channels are basically a group of users that broadcast into a wider group, much like a following a Twitter account, but with more than one user posting into that feed, a supergroup is essentially a very large group chat, but which can be found by searching for the name of it, rather than having to be invited or use an invite link, like you do on WhatsApp.
If you are a cryptocurrency investor, like me, you will probably already be aware of Telegram, as this is where most rumours and early news about crypto is circulated. Every coin, token and content producer have its own telegram group with an active user base.
Facebook to Steemit
The biggest technological development of the last few years is the Blockchain. If you do not know about the blockchain, please watch ColdFusion’s video on it. A social network which is developing
on the blockchain is called Steemit. This is a network where users get paid in Steemit’s own cryptocurrency to post content. These tokens can then be stored in a wallet, or exchanged for other cryptocurrencies like Litecoin and Ethereum, which can then be exchanged for fiat currency, such as pounds or dollars. Unlike Facebook, where the worst content is promoted by its algorithms, such as things like SoFlo and Rick Lax, who just create, and even steal, awful content. Steemit’s aim is to promote the best content, such as thoughtful, educational and genuinely entertaining content, rather than basic videos and pictures. It will potentially contain the ability to chat with friends, host group chats, video conferences and all sorts of other things too. Due to the technical architecture of the blockchain, the possibilities of Steemit are almost limitless. Steemit is still in the early stages of development, however, but once it is up and running, which won’t be too long, it will really be something special and being a part of the first users will be a very exciting concept.