xanderjakeq

An open source Facebook groups alternative

February 29, 2020

Problem

I don’t use Facebook that much as a platform to share with the public. But, I do like the groups feature. I like sharing with people with the same mindset or goals as I do. But as more and more privacy issues Facebook has, I get more hesitant to use it.

I was looking for other alternatives to Facebook groups and the best one I found is Discord. It fills the need for sharing and communicating with friends but I wonder if it’s resistant to the problems Facebook is facing. If it will, then I would need to find another alternative.

The main problem is the business model. Facebook is an advertising business, and they would want to collect user data for advertisers to efficiently promote products to the right people. That’s a problem, people don’t want to be tracked. I don’t either. Discord, on the other hand, has a different business model where they offer premium features to paying users. They might be able to keep doing what they’re doing without exploiting user privacy. I certainly hope so.

Solution

What if there was no business model at all? There wouldn’t be a need to monetize users. Nobody owns the platform, the user owns their data.

It so happens that a couple of months ago, I was introduced to Blockstack. They offer a decentralized app ecosystem and have good tools for developers to build decentralized apps. The tools I needed to build Socialli, the open-source Facebook groups alternative.

Socialli screenshot

Socialli has the basic features that a social app needs. Namely, profiles, posting, commenting, following, and notifications. It’s at an early stage of development and I need to get feedback from users… (that I don’t have).

Only after finishing the MVP that I realized that it’s difficult to get people to use a social media app that nobody uses besides the developer, even friends. My lack of social skills might have to do with it but who knows.

If you are looking for a Facebook alternative, give Socialli a try give me feedback, so it could be the best Privacy-preserving social media app we need.