Social networks have been so popular because they appeal to a basic human need, namely the need to belong to a group and socialize. Unfortunately, many claim that social platforms have turned into spying and ad-serving tools.
As a result, many users are looking to join social networks that respect their privacy. So, if you uninstalled all social apps and programs from your Windows 10 computer but you still want to connect online with your friends, family and peers, you still got quite a few interesting alternatives.
In this article, we’ll list the best decentralized social networks that you can use in 2020 highlighting their main features and advantages.
Best user owned social networks to join this year
Diaspora is one of the most popular decentralized social networks in the world. It has over one million users and relies on a group of independently owned nodes which work together to form the social network.
Diaspora’s developers refuse to bring ads to the platform or sell it to major corporations.
Rest assured, your social life is not sold to advertisers. As a user, you retain 100% ownership of your data.
Diaspora relies on three main principles:
- Decentralization — The social network runs on independently run servers, instead of using huge central servers owned by a corporation.
- Freedom — You can use a pen name if you don’t feel comfortable revealing your true identity.
- Privacy — As stated above, you as a user, own your data. You can choose who you want to share this information with and how. You own your content.
If you’ve used Twitter before, transition to Diaspora will be a smooth one. You can use and follow #tags according to your interests. Use #tags to help other users find your content quicker.
Also, new users can make their presence noticed by using the #newhere tag. Simply write a few lines about yourself to introduce yourself and you’re ready to go.
Interested in joining Diaspora? Go to Diaspora Foundation’s official website.
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Minds is a very interesting social network that offers a series of useful features that you can find on today’s major corporate-owned social platforms. Yes, you read that right: Minds is similar to Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.
This social network has one of the fastest growing adoption rates among alternative social platforms. It has over 2 million users and its code is owned and supported by the community. In other words, the code is publicly available for review and contribution, and everyone can improve it.
Minds promotes freedom of speech. It has zero censorship.
Now, if you want to earn some money online, then Minds is a great place to start. The platform uses peer-to-peer advertising allowing your to monetize the content that you put out. Users can pay you using cash, Bitcoin, credit cards, and more.
Minds’ networking focuses on four areas:
- NewsFeed where you can find out what’s new on Minds
- Discovery — you can use this feature to find content that might interest you
- Blogs — use this section to share your thoughts and ideas with the community
- Groups — this section reunites community members interested in the same topic
Mastodon is a an open-source decentralized micro-blogging network. It’s similar to Twitter, but the main difference in terms of privacy is that it’s operated on servers running open source software.
This platform allows you to post messages withing a 500-character limit. Your messages are called toots and you can control who can see them.
There are no ads inserted into your timeline. As a matter of fact, there is no advertising whatsoever on the network. Donations only fuel this crowd-funded project.
Putting the user first
You’re a person, not a product. Mastodon is a free, open-source development that has been crowdfunded, not financed. All instances are independently owned, operated, and moderated. There is no monopoly by a single commercial company, no ads, and no tracking. Mastodon works for you, and not the other way around.
It is worth mentioning that Mastodon actively uses anti-abuse tools to protect its users. Moderators can quickly step in if any issues arise.
Mastodon currently has around 800k users.
Sola is the “next-gen decentralized social network”, as the official description reads.
Unlike today’s major social platforms, Sola doesn’t rely of the concepts of following or followers. Instead it uses AI algorithms and user reaction to spread information. In this manner, the network identifies quality content and makes sure that it reaches users who are indeed interested in that type of content.
Sola uses node architecture to fuel its existence.
Any user can host Sola node on their computer; they’ll receive a reward for each post delivered to the end user. Decentralized architecture makes Sola nearly immune to blocking and censorship, while keeping costs low. Without a central authority, once launched, the network cannot be shut down.
It is worth mentioning that just like Minds, Sola allows its users to earn money by using the platform. It generates revenue from ads, user payments and partnerships that it then splits with users. As usual, quality content translates into revenue increase.
Over 700,000 users are already monetizing their content on the platform.
So, if you’re looking for a reliable alternative to the current social media platforms, you can join one of the decentralized social networks listed above.
There has been a recent trend of people shutting down and deleting their Facebook accounts. Many perceive it as a sign of social network failure and predict this is the beginning of social networking as we know it.
Privacy concerns is one of the main reasons why people are deleting their social media accounts. Users want to feel safe and they need a guarantee no private information is collected without their consent. The only problem is that today’s social networks fail to meet these needs. And this is where decentralized blockchain-based network come into action.
If you already have an account on Sola, Mastodon, Minds or Diaspora tell us more about your user experience in the comments below.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2018 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.