This guide to alternatives to Facebook, Google, Twitter etc is a major update of my August 2018 Guide on the topic.
List of Alternatives to Facebook, Google & Twitter
AKA Leaving The Matrix
In these days of Facebook, Google and Twitter's rampant censorship (including of The President of the United States), privacy breaches, anti-competitive attacks on competitors and making billions off other people's work without compensation, a lot of people are looking for alternatives for their online lives.
As CEO of JPB Liberty which is funding a class action against Facebook & Google's illegal cartel conduct. I had to find alternatives to Facebook & Google products for my personal and business online activities.
The bad news is that when you try to leave The Matrix, your realise how all pervasive and dangerous Facebook & Google are. Its not so easy to avoid their tentacles.
But the good news is that there ARE excellent alternatives. Many are much better, both technically and feature wise. All are much more secure and private and some will even pay you for your online activities.
Many of these are decentralised cryptocurrency based projects that can never be taken over, bought or shut down by Facebook, Google or anyone.
I've set out these alternatives below so you can try them and free yourself from The Matrix.
Email - ProtonMail
Email is the oldest but still one of the most essential online services and Gmail has dominated this space for years. This means they scan every email you send or receive and it adds to their big data picture of your life and the life of everyone around you.
Email is also generally insecure and subject to interception, phishing scams etc.
While there are many email alternatives, I've found that the best is the Swiss based ProtonMail.
It provides complete privacy and security using PGP based end-to-end encryption and digital signatures.
It makes encryption easy for anyone to use and has iPhone & Android Apps and integration with Windows & OSX mail applications.
They now have ProtonDrive and Proton Calendar - fully private and encrypted alternatives to the Google versions.
They also have an excellent VPN product.
I've been using ProtonMail for almost 3 years now and am very happy with it.
Web Browser - Brave
The second oldest and essential way we interact with the online world is via the web browser.
There are a range of options, but again Google has a dominant position with Chrome.
Browsers have a big problem with tracking, privacy loss, pop-up ads and other annoying ads that disturb and distract our web surfing experience. But websites need revenue and advertising has been the main way to get it.
How to solve these problem? - Enter Brave a browser which does an excellent job of blocking ads, trackers and all the other crap that tries to attach to us online while providing an alternative revenue model (the BAT cryptocurrency) for websites.
I've been happily using Brave for almost 3 years now and have had 1,878,243 trackers blocked and 7 Gb of ads blocked by Brave. I've also automatically made micropayments of BAT cryptocurrency to the websites I use the most.
Web Search - DuckDuckGo
The third oldest and essential way we interact with the online world is by using web search engines. Google completely dominates this space and with it the ability to control your information flows, track you and harvest your data, which they sell to advertisers.
I've been using the privacy focussed search engine DuckDuckGo for years now and have been very happy with it. They don't track you, follow you around with ads or store your personal information.
Changing search engines is the simplest thing of all. Just go to preferences / search in your browser and change from Google to DuckDuckGo.
Instant messaging has become an essential form of communications over the past few years and the space is dominated by WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, and Facebook messaging.
Fortunately Telegram is a big competitor (525M users) to WhatsApp which is privacy focussed and promises to remain independent. Telegram also has a lot of groups that can allow you to follow people who have been banned by Big Tech.
Signal is the gold standard of privacy with the best encryption and is the go-to App for journalists in repressive regimes.
Both Telegram and Signal have all the functionality of WhatsApp and much more, including excellent encrypted voice and video calling functionality.
I find that you really need both to cover your entire contact list as some people are on one but not the other. With both of them you really won't miss the piece of spyware called WhatsApp.
Blogging, Video Sharing, Tweeting and more - Hive
Hive is a complete ecosystem of censorship resistant applications for content creation and sharing where you get paid for your content.
It is the Bitcoin of Content and Social Media and is based on a more advanced version of the same blockchain / cryptocurrency technology.
Content is permanently and immutably written to the blockchain which is secured on hundreds and soon thousands of independent computers around the world.
Like Bitcoin, it is not owned of controlled anyone.
But it is not a free-for-all for hate speech. Indeed it is the most civilised place on the internet - the only place where people on opposite sides of the political divide can have a civilised discussion.
This because users upvote and downvote content with a voting power which depends on how much financial stake they have in the platform. These votes are worth real money (HIVE cryptocurrency which is convertible to Bitcoin and national currencies).
People behave much better when there are real financial consequences of bad behaviour (and where their feed is not being manipulated to make them angry). Content moderation is achieved by downvoting bad content and upvoting good content with hundreds or thousands of intelligent humans having an input.
Hive Blogging - Hive.blog, Peakd.com and Leo Finance
You can post and view content on the Hive blockchain via many front-end interfaces but the two largest generalist ones are Hive.blog and Peakd. Leo Finance is the largest specialist front-end for finance related content.
It is important to understand that irrespective of which front-end you use, all content is posted to the blockchain and is readable on other front-ends. Specialist front ends filter out content that does not have their tag (eg #leofinance).
Hive Video Sharing- 3Speak
Video Sharing has replaced television as the main method we view video content.
Youtube, owned by Google, completely dominates this space and has been abusing its power by censoring and demonetising alternative views a lot lately.
3Speak is a decentralised version of YouTube where the content creator gets paid for their content and there is no middle man.
Your videos won't get deleted because they question the mainstream media and Big Tech narrative.
Twitter replacement - D.Buzz
D.Buzz is a recent addition to the Hive ecosystem that provides a forum for short "tweet" like messages.
It is not as popular as Parler, but it can't be shut down like Parler has been.
Games, Art and much more
Hive hosts the largest blockchain based game - Splinterlands and many others where you earn by playing and your in game assets are tradable on multiple markets and secured by the blockchain.
Hive hosts a fast growing market for digital art that can be uniquely owned using Non-Fungible-Tokens (or NFTs) you can check them out on NFT Showroom.
For ALL of the above applications you have a single human readable username and can login with a single click using Hive Keychain for Brave/Chrome or for Firefox without sending your password anywhere on the internet. Blockchain based sign-in is fundamentally more secure than traditional passwords.
The easiest way to JOIN HIVE is Hive On Board using this link.
While cutting Facebook, Google and Twitter out of your life and replacing them with the alternatives above isn't as simple as taking a red pill, it will change your life just as dramatically as in The Matrix, set you free and make you money.
Come join me and millions of others in bringing freedom back to the internet.
Please vote for my Hive witness. (KeyChain or HiveSigner)