Is it time to leave Facebook?

The movement to abandon Facebook seems to have gathered some steam. If you’re potentially interested, this is a summary of your best options. Let me start with the criteria I’m using.

1. No advertising-based business model

As I’ve written before, the fundamental problem with Facebook is the business model. Any other site with the same business model will end up as bad.

So that eliminates Google+ and Blogger, particularly since Google are funding neo-Nazis. It also eliminates Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, and any other site relying on advertising for its funding.

2. No lock-in

The other problem with Facebook is lock-in. It was open at the start — web feeds in and out — but when they walled it off I didn’t leave, and now I regret that. So I also think it’s a waste of time switching to any other social network that’s walled off. I demand at least web feeds, and ideally some sort of open federation so you can choose a provider like you choose where to keep your e-mail.

So that eliminates MeWe (formerly Sgrouples), Allo, and various other closed social networks that promise that they would never abuse their captive audience, no sir.

3. No Nazis and no algorithmic encouragement of extremists

If I’m going to use a social network, I want it to be one where a random person going to one of the top level pages isn’t presented with “alt right” celebs and Infowars fans. That eliminates Gab and Minds.

I also eliminate Minds on the basis that its points-based attention system is exactly the kind of algorithm that spreads fake news and conspiracy theories.

What’s left?

So, what does that leave?

There are basically three standard federation protocols for open social sites, all the systems I’m going to consider speak at least one of them.

I’m going to give preference to systems which have a friendly signup page for random non-technical users.

There are two main styles of social site: like Twitter, or like Facebook.

If you want something like Twitter

If you prefer a Twitter-style social network, your main options are GNU Social, Mastodon or

If you want to host something yourself, there’s also Pleroma and postActiv, and maybe NextCloud Circles.

The good news is that all the Twitter-style networks interoperate. I’m on Mastodon, you can add me to whatever system you sign up for by telling it the address

If you want something like Facebook

If you prefer a Facebook-style “wall” with threaded discussions, you are going to face a bit more of a learning curve. I say this because I’ve noticed that people ignore (or at least tolerate) the complexity of Facebook, but will use similar levels of complexity as a reason why they refuse to consider using anything else. If you’re serious about wanting an alternative to Facebook, you need to get on board with the fact that you’re going to need to read tutorials and learn stuff gradually. Remember that you weren’t born knowing how to edit Facebook group membership lists.

So, that said, your options are Diaspora, Friendica and Hubzilla. As with the Twitter-like systems, all three interoperate, so you should be able to choose whichever you like best.

I’m on Diaspora as, but I haven’t posted there in a while. I think that Hubzilla is the way forward, because it has more of the things people use Facebook for — events and parties, discussion groups, and so on. If you’re technically minded, you might want to read about what version 3 has. Last year Hubzilla was a bit of a user interface train wreck, but release 3 has made major improvements.

If you try Hubzilla, you can find me as If I get enough engagement I’ll probably set up my own server and migrate my profile there — unlike with Facebook, with open federated systems you can often move your identity freely between providers.

So, it’s up to you. The systems are there if you want to try them, and you can find me on them.