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A Call For an Open, Distributed Alternative To Facebook 363

qwerty8ytrewq writes "Ryan Singel, writing for Wired, claims that Facebook has gone rogue: 'Facebook used to be a place to share photos and thoughts with friends and family and maybe play a few stupid games that let you pretend you were a mafia don or a homesteader. It became a very useful way to connect with your friends, long-lost friends and family members. ... And Facebook realized it owned the network. Then Facebook decided to turn "your" profile page into your identity online — figuring, rightly, that there’s money and power in being the place where people define themselves. But to do that, the folks at Facebook had to make sure that the information you give it was public.' Singel goes on to call for an open, distributed alternative. 'Facebook’s basic functions can be turned into protocols, and a whole set of interoperating software and services can flourish. Think of being able to buy your own domain name and use simple software such as Posterous to build a profile page in the style of your liking.' Can Slashdotters predict where social networking is going? And how?" Relatedly, jamie points out a graphical representation of how Facebook's privacy settings have changed over the last five years.
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A Call For an Open, Distributed Alternative To Facebook

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  • Diaspora (Score:5, Informative)

    by flimm ( 1626043 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @09:27AM (#32146438)
    Diaspora [] is a project that aims to be that open and distributed alternative. The four students and graduates that started it have already managed to raise $16k to work on it this summer.
  • Re:Relax (Score:5, Informative)

    by wrook ( 134116 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @10:08AM (#32146680) Homepage

    I used to feel that way back when I was a programmer working the normal 100 hour weeks. Then I quit my job and did something else. But without the constant security blanket that was work I noticed I was missing something. I later learned it was called a social life. I talked to somebody and found out that groups of people were going to parties and meeting people, possibly even hooking up for sex (and not just looking at pictures on the internet, it seems). Anyway, I asked why I never got invited to anything like that. Well apart from my slovenly appearance of unkept hair, rolls of fat and poor fashion sense (hint: wearing the same T-shirt every day is no good even if it is a Star Wars one), I needed to be on Facebook. Despite having a perfectly good email account, it turns out that you wont get invited to parties unless they can simply include you on the event list. But even more than that, people check out your activities to make sure you are cool enough to be invited to the parties. Basically you have to pretend that you are doing something amazingly interesting and take pictures of it. It helps to have other people in the pictures too so that everyone thinks you have friends (but it's pretty easy to fake it with pictures of strangers, so don't worry about it). Oh, and don't forget to frequently update your status saying, "I'm having the best day ever!" so that people think you're always doing something interesting. Finally, even with all your friends and amazing activities, you have to appear uber-organized by having enough time to play stupid farm games and flooding everyone's screens with updates about your progress. After you do all this, you will get invited to parties and get laid (well... maybe -- it turns out that shirt thing is really serious).

  • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Sunday May 09, 2010 @10:25AM (#32146774) Homepage

    Folks seem to be forgetting that a (mostly) open source alternative already exists - Live Journal [].

  • Somewhat on topic (Score:3, Informative)

    by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) * on Sunday May 09, 2010 @10:55AM (#32147002) Journal

    I have my facebook settings absoloutely locked down as tight as it will allow me yet *they* continue to change what is defined as private or not.
    The recent big change (2 or 3 months ago?) which got a lot of media attention, their changes 'accidentally' flagged everyones stuff as insecure again and we all had to re-secure it. (No I'm not being paranoid, it literally went from 'friends only' visibility on some items to 'everyone')

    Furthermore, friends of friends can see and or add me now, infact they are prompted to add me and I'm constantly having to ignore unwanted friend requests.
    What really bothers me though is this facebook connect business, I've never signed up for it or used it but I recently watched a Starcraft 2 match and it had my full name on the website, I don't know the technical term but my facebook cookie I'm guessing was imported by livestream, just like that - I literally clicked nothing to allow it to identify me.
    Apparently gawker does this same thing.

    This is where they are starting to really push my envelope of tolerance. I don't have much to hide particularly but these people are starting to get downright nasty and I am beggining to feel potentially violated here. I'm not normally one of those 'must be secure!!!' types but this could be abused, how long until my entire profile is public? How long before a potential employer googles up a picture of me at a party or something with a beer in my hand acting like a tool ironically and they mistake it for being genuine behaviour?

    I'm not at the point of closing my account but I've got to say, for the first time it's actually crossed my mind. Why are these people deliberately destroying themselves? If you want to exploit stupid people, go ahead but for goodness sakes please let the smart user lock their stuff down.

  • by ( 1342685 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @11:09AM (#32147098) Homepage

    Add [] and you have status updates and privacy control too!

  • by Bodhammer ( 559311 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @11:21AM (#32147160)!/group.php?gid=16929680703 [] Be warned, you need to delete all your content too. P.
  • by Vintermann ( 400722 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @01:24PM (#32148098) Homepage

    I had to look up "douche canoe" and "mansplain", but I'm glad I did.

  • by eugene ts wong ( 231154 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @04:18PM (#32149062) Homepage Journal

    Thank you for looking it up and saying that you did. It never occurred to me that I should do it. It turned out to be very funny. I appreciate it.

  • by schlick ( 73861 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @04:22PM (#32149080)
    This is what Eben Moglen calls for in his lecture about freedom in the cloud []

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant