Why can’t we make an open source substitute for Facebook/Google etc?

Google is taking flak because of forcing people to join Google+ just so they can comment on a YouTube video, presumably so they can gather more personal data for their ad targetting. Facebook seems to take flak every week for yet another privacy abuse of its users. Twitter hasn’t been in trouble for ages.

It seems to me that when we can make open source office applications and open source operating systems, that an open source general purpose social networking platform should be perfectly feasible. On it, people would be able to keep in touch, share videos, messages, emails, pictures and text, hang out and chat using text or audio-video, comment generally to the world about anything, and could do so freely without having to give up their anonymity, or have to be bombarded with ads.

There can’t be a fundamental patent problem stopping it, because there are lots of sites that let people share videos and text and other kinds of files. There are so many ways to do it that any particular patent can be circumvented.

If our personal data is so useful, the platform could even provide a way of people collecting it for themselves and then selling it for a discount to any company they want to sell it to, but the initial value would be theirs, not some big company.

I did a quick search, search being something else that could become open source, running on distributed peer to peer networks, our own PCs essentially. Some open source social networking components already exist out there. All we should need is a few bits of sticky tape and glue to put them all together now, surely?

Isn’t it time to tell these big companies where to go and reclaim the net for ourselves?

4 responses to “Why can’t we make an open source substitute for Facebook/Google etc?

  1. All you need is a server system to cope with the commercially viable millions. HTML variations on any available web designs, or start from scratch. Oh and it helps to have media personnel on your friends list.

    Like

  2. Very interesting article. Let me just add up to this idea: “presumably so they can gather more personal data for their ad targetting.” – Google is not only interested in ad targetting. They collect people’s data just for the sake of it. They collect everything you do. Even when you are offline they track your IP to make connections with your google profile. Along with facebook, they are a MASSIVE spying source for whoever accesses it and thats what’s most dangerous.
    I 100% agree with your idea of making each person responsible for their own data sharing in a not corrupted environment.

    Like

  3. How a blockchain-based replacement for Uber might work:

    ‘Imagine some group like Protocol Labs decides there’s a case to be made for adding another “basic layer” to the stack. Just as GPS gave us a way of discovering and sharing our location, this new protocol would define a simple request: I am here and would like to go there. A distributed ledger might record all its users’ past trips, credit cards, favorite locations — all the metadata that services like Uber or Amazon use to encourage lock-in. Call it, for the sake of argument, the Transit protocol. The standards for sending a Transit request out onto the internet would be entirely open; anyone who wanted to build an app to respond to that request would be free to do so. Cities could build Transit apps that allowed taxi drivers to field requests. But so could bike-share collectives, or rickshaw drivers. Developers could create shared marketplace apps where all the potential vehicles using Transit could vie for your business. When you walked out on the sidewalk and tried to get a ride, you wouldn’t have to place your allegiance with a single provider before hailing.’
    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/01/16/magazine/beyond-the-bitcoin-bubble.html

    Like

    • Interesting comment, but why not use it in reply to my blockchain article which is several years newer. Very very few people read these old posts so you’d get far more views if replying to a more recent blog.

      Your idea in this case is very like some of the mid 1980s remote procedure call protocols designed for much the same purpose.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.