Tuesday, May 22, 2018 by David Williams
While Facebook may not be the literal scum of the internet, it has been cutting it real close. The data and privacy breaches that have recently happened and the subsequent non-apology issued by its founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, paint a not-so-bright future for the social media giant.
Since it doesn’t look like the problem is going to fix itself any time soon, it’s up to the users to decide what the best remedy is going to be. There was a Twitter-based #DeleteFacebook movement that gained some traction a while back, but it didn’t last very long. Sure, it had a small impact on Facebook because a number of users did delete their accounts, but consistency is needed for it to have any long-lasting effects.
Enter a new open-source alternative to Facebook – as well as to social media platforms in general – called Secure Scuttlebutt. It’s a new type of open-source software that will let you or anyone you know stay in touch with other people in your network of friends, colleagues, or acquaintances. It lacks many of Facebook’s core features, but then again, those are the features that make Facebook so dangerous anyway. But it offers one thing that makes using it advantageous over using Facebook: allowing users to control all of their data.
According to a report from the online decentralization magazine InTheMesh.com, Secure Scuttlebutt is built on the idea that full access and control of all their data should be in the hands of users at all times. As such, using it doesn’t require a login page. Instead, each account is tied onto a single computer or device that becomes an avatar for individuals (i.e. you).
“Because users own all of the files that make up Scuttlebutt, they can store their data anywhere,” the InTheMesh author said. “For example, I have 800 megabytes worth of data – that’s small enough to fit on a microSD card.” This data is comprised of status updates, status updates of friends, contact info, pictures, and everything else that has been uploaded through a Scuttlebutt user account. (Related: New alternatives to Twitter, Google, Facebook rapidly emerging: These sites won’t censor you.)
“As soon as I put the card into my phone, Scuttlebutt automatically updates and syncs with the new posts that my friends or I make,” the author added. “The user always owns their own data – they can take it out and literally hold it in their hand – but this data is also dynamically linked in to the social network.”
Getting on Scuttlebutt is a little complicated, but it isn’t impossible – even for non-tech-savvy users. There’s a short guide to getting started on the official Scuttlebutt website, which is written in English and offers relevant links where necessary. With that said, all those who want to get their hands dirty, so to speak, are free to read up on all of Scuttlebutt’s technical details, which are also available on its official website.
So what does Scuttlebutt’s availability really mean? Will it really be known as the Facebook killer? Only time will tell. But the fact that it even exists in the first place is a sign that whatever hole Facebook fills in people’s lives can be filled rather quickly and easily somewhere else, and without giving up individual freedoms, at that. The more that people get on it and other alternative social media sites, the faster they can replace Facebook and its ilk. The world may have already lost the current battles with today’s biggest online social media giants, but it isn’t too late to win the data and online privacy war.
Learn more about the biggest social media and online privacy blunders at PrivacyWatch.news.