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May 12, 2010

Meet Diaspora, the 'anti-Facebook'

Posted: 12:36 PM ET

Sick of the barrage of Facebook privacy scandals?

Don't trust a multi-billion-dollar corporation with your photos and personal information?

Well, there may be an online social network for you yet.

It's called Diaspora, and it's an idea from four New York University students who say in a video pitch that big online companies like Facebook shouldn't be allowed to have access to, and to some degree "own," all of the personal data that flows in and out of their social networks.

The site, which is still in development, has been dubbed "the anti-Facebook" by tech blogs.

The solution sounds a little wonky: Diaspora basically enables computers to share updates, photos and videos directly with each other. It eliminates the middleman, i.e. Facebook, Flickr, Google or Twitter, so no one has access to your data but you and your friends.

To set things up this way, each user has to have server space. In Diaspora-speak, these machines are called "seeds."

But, despite the potential technical confusion, the result, the site's founders say, is a fully private and secure network, without cutting down on the "sharing" aspect of the internet, which is such a trend at the moment.

"Social networks have only really existed for 10 years," one of the Diaspora founders says in a video introduction. "We don’t know what’s going to happen to our data. It’s going to exist into the foreseeable future. We need to take control of it."

"Because once you give it away once it’s no longer yours. You cannot stake claim to it," another chimes in.

Diaspora's founders - who look kind of like they jumped out of "Revenge of the Nerds," and, according to, consider themselves to be pretty nerdy - posted their idea on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter to get money for the venture. If you're not familiar with Kickstarter, it's a site where people post information about their projects and ask random members of the internet for funding.

So far, about 900 people have contributed a total of nearly $29,000. That's more than the $10,000 the Diaspora founders said they needed to start the site.

ReadWriteWeb says that the way Diaspora works may confuse some general users. But, the blog notes, Diaspora may offer a paid service that would be simpler to use. Positioning itself as the anti-Facebook may help, too:

"If Diaspora is realized, it will be up to technology advocates to position the turn-key service in a way that will make it sound simple and appealing to precisely those sorts of mainstream users if it is to ever succeed. Taking shots at Facebook's privacy issues may be a good course (Take back control with Diaspora!)," the blog writes.

"We would like to see Diaspora come to be, even if it never goes mainstream, because it would finally offer privacy advocates a real alternative to the increasingly data-hungry Facebook."

Check out Project Diaspora's website and let us know what you think. Mark Zuckerberg co-founded Facebook in 2004 out of his Harvard dorm room; it now has 400 million users worldwide. Is it too late for a challenger? Or do the latest privacy concerns leave it vulnerable?

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Filed under: Facebook • Internet • social-networking sites

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Dodo's aren't Extinct!   May 12th, 2010 12:42 pm ET

There goes the neighborhood. Just like all the other "social networks" it will start off with a mass of people registering and claiming its the greatest. Then, just like the others, it will grow to big for itself and decide to make a profit off it and screw over the end-users just like "MyWaste" and "Failbook."

Dodo's aren't Extinct!   May 12th, 2010 12:46 pm ET

And the concept of letting "friends" access files directly from your computer is a little fishy to me. If they can access the files, what can they leave behind? I see this causing major problems, especially with the kids these days accepting anyone as a friend on-line to boost their super-star ego's by filling it with as many friends as possible.

Akshay Bakshi   May 12th, 2010 12:53 pm ET

its never too late for a challenger.... It just has to be good enough .

Dodo's aren't Extinct!   May 12th, 2010 1:02 pm ET

The concept is there; just the execution is going to be a bit flawed.

Adam   May 12th, 2010 1:06 pm ET

I'm sick of people complaining about facebook. If you don't want your info being out on the internet and you don't want your info and pictures or whatever you have to be "owned" by someone else there is an easy fix: DON'T HAVE A FACEBOOK ACCOUNT. Unless someone is threatening your life if you don't start a facebook account, shut up and don't socially network online. Go outside and meet a human face to face.

Chris R   May 12th, 2010 1:07 pm ET

Helloooo new attack vector!

Po   May 12th, 2010 1:20 pm ET

Adam, I am sick of people complaining about those who complain about facebook. This is not your private blog, people are allowed to voice their displeasure – no one is trying to force you to get off facebook, so don't force others to stifle their opinions concerning social networks.
I think FB is stupid and therefore I don't have an account, you want one then go ahead, but I have as much a right to discuss my views on the subject.
All social networks are the same – they start off as "really cool" then turn into the fiasco we now know as facebook and myspace

Nick   May 12th, 2010 1:24 pm ET

Adam, that's why they are creating this new service.

Dodo's aren't Extinct!   May 12th, 2010 1:27 pm ET

Adam, how is hypocracy going for you? Not afraid to tell others te give up their 1st amendment rights while posting on the site, but reverse the field and he will be the first to complain.

Ed   May 12th, 2010 1:27 pm ET

If you don't want you're info shared, stop sharing it. Ridiculous logic.

miles   May 12th, 2010 1:28 pm ET

"Check out Project Diaspora's website" what's the web address? that would be helpful to post in this article

BK   May 12th, 2010 1:45 pm ET

If you don't want everyone to know it, don't put it online. People who put their data on a networking site and then get angry when it leaks are just foolish. Anyone who thinks this site will not have the same or at the very least similar issues is just naive.

Robert   May 12th, 2010 1:47 pm ET

Here's a link, Miles.

X   May 12th, 2010 1:49 pm ET


Re-read the article and pay attention. It's in there.

"The site, which is still in development, has been dubbed "the anti-Facebook" by tech blogs."

Follow the links. DUH.

X   May 12th, 2010 1:54 pm ET


There's also,

"It's called Diaspora, and it's an idea from four New York University students who say in a video pitch..."

You can't miss these things - blue = hyperlinks for cryin' out loud!

Vanessa   May 12th, 2010 2:10 pm ET

@Adam, so according to your logic, if I don't want a hacker to steal my money, don't do online banking, right? Very realistic.

dave   May 12th, 2010 2:18 pm ET

Nice, they're drinking coffee they must be legit

Sabu LeChat   May 12th, 2010 2:32 pm ET

Social networking is the height of narcissism. To think that 10 years back people were possessed with their on-line privacy only to be replaced by the open kimono of Facebook, simply astounding.

Consider the personal information that people share with barely friends Remarkable, curious and endlessly arrogant.

kate   May 12th, 2010 2:36 pm ET

I think it's funny how there is a 'like' button at the end of the article...and that 52 people have recommended this article...on Facebook.

Richard   May 12th, 2010 2:39 pm ET

I've been reading articles on people being fired for using their right of free speech on Facebook and Tweeter . Has anyone considered that the H.R. department people have their own private network where they post their opinion on employees , fired or not , that can be accessed by other companies and used to discredit good employees so they can't change employers or to keep an employee from getting a job or to let one H.R friend tell another H.R. friend at another company that this employee has submitted a resume to them? Want to be famous? Find these networks, hack into them and post the hacks for others to view. Now that would be a story !!!!!!

Alesia   May 12th, 2010 2:39 pm ET

Lol! Ur comment is def my fav :)

Tech-tainment   May 12th, 2010 2:59 pm ET

These kids need to be coming up with better things than alternates to distractive web-trends like soc.ial sites. I can only hope this is just something they are doing now and move on to more important things in the future. It's just a shame this country (USA) has smart kids but they seem to get into something so time-wasting and pablum-like even at tech levels.

demonfeed   May 12th, 2010 3:11 pm ET

Myspace started with that "Tom" guy, then he sold it to a buisness so he could live on easy street. Same with Facebook, Newgrounds, LiveJournal... so on and so forth. Just another potential commodity. Good for the kids to come up with such an idea, but your better off finishing your term papers.

Noodlz   May 12th, 2010 3:14 pm ET

Well, this technology is not new. In fact almost every service that has used this technology has been hammered down.

This just seems like a big Torrent rig with an added blog function. – Yawn.

And yea, it goes both ways. In and Out. Scary for sure. Someone has to have control of the data being pushed back and forth or you're going to have people sharing illeagal movies and somgs and then the gov will step in and grab everyones IPs. So, you can bet your life it'll have to be the site owners who have to take teh drivers saet and start monitoring the transfrs. So eventually, to protect themselves, they will have to go the Facebook / Napster route. Peer to Peer has always been skethcy. I mean who wants to dedictae a portion of their PC's processing power and memory to the interwebz? Meh, I like my bandwidth staying prviate.

Mister Moose   May 12th, 2010 3:14 pm ET

Great Idea! Count me in!

theandyorr   May 12th, 2010 3:19 pm ET

Running it out of Ithaca, NY eh? Sounds fine to me. Keep it going guys.

Houston economy is great   May 12th, 2010 3:24 pm ET

weeee I dont care!!! I have a FB so what...... This sounds like Lime wire or Frost wire...

Emily   May 12th, 2010 3:34 pm ET

Actually, merely not having a Facebook account will NOT keep my pictures, activities, whereabouts off of the internet. Unless I refuse to be in any picture that someone might post on their social network of choice, I cannot say that my image will not be out there as data owned by someone (or something) else. The same goes for posts/statements/tweets/whatever made by individuals who innocently relay facts about me and my activities that I would never put up for publication, i.e. something like "Partying w/friends tonight! Emily's going away for a the summer so this is the last chance to hang at her place!"
I do agree that everyone has the choice to make about whether they themselves directly participate in networking sites, but that does not address the issue of indirect, forced participation (of which they might not even be aware).

OpenSourceRulez   May 12th, 2010 3:57 pm ET

I checked out the project site, and it looks pretty cool to me. They are basically offering the same functionality as you would get from a facebook or other social platform, EXCEPT that it lives on your network, so you control the content. The only drawback I can see is you have to operate a server or server space to use it – i.e. have web hosting somewhere. Maybe one of your friends will be smart enough to know how hosting works... Then you can just use their installation.

Mikal63   May 12th, 2010 4:02 pm ET

I'll be one of the first to sign up. It's the major reason I haven't signed up for any social networking applications or websites, I want ABSOLUTE control over my information, I don't want someone else deciding that for me. Right now our personal information is used for advertising, later on who knows. It's a short hop from learning about what we do through our social networks, to being able to tell us what we'll be doing.

Charlie   May 12th, 2010 4:23 pm ET

Wow. I am the director of IT for a company. How these guys intend to support what could potentially be an enormous user base with a budge of only $10K is beyond me. Shareware, freeware, and open source solutions aside. That's just not enough money to get the job done. I doubt $30K is either.

David   May 12th, 2010 4:44 pm ET

I deleted my facebook account today and discovered that they don't actually erase the account until 14 days have passed since your request!!! Who are these people??

Marco   May 12th, 2010 4:45 pm ET

Funny how an "anti-Facebook" news report has over 100 Facebook "likes"

Ace   May 12th, 2010 4:47 pm ET

I hope everyone gets a chance to see the South Park episode about Facebook. In a word, priceless . . .

Mitchell   May 12th, 2010 4:55 pm ET

I would say this solution is even worst than Facebook privacy problems. Here's why:
– Risk of exposing PI not only to a "evil company" but to everyone
– Is your friends' PCs secure enough?
– It will be like a "P2P Facebook" and we all know the problems involved on these type of networks
– Opportunity to new Exploits by having these ports open, exposed and connected to the internet

I think the best way to tackle Facebook's Pprivacy issues is not to create an account in the first place. But these initiatives (Diaspora) help building a more secure and safe social media ecosystem.

Insan Mukmin   May 12th, 2010 5:06 pm ET

Having a facebook or twitter page helps with job applications. Future employers can get to know your personal life and this makes them feel comfortable and secure with you compared to someone whose info is only on a few pages of a BORING standard job application.

the forester   May 12th, 2010 5:13 pm ET

June 1 is Delete Your Facebook Day.

yo   May 12th, 2010 5:22 pm ET

Dave – I laughed and spit my coffee on the computer screen

Jack   May 12th, 2010 5:47 pm ET

OMG. This will work!

Till internet neutrality is killed off and they shut it down... till then, I am in love!

Jack   May 12th, 2010 5:48 pm ET

And another thing... this seems an awful lot like bittorrent technology. If we start funnelling all of our private data thru this underground channel, won't Facebook start suing us for piracy? I mean, they own all our personal data now, right?

Chris Finney   May 12th, 2010 6:14 pm ET

Ha! Anti-Social Networking!

The Game   May 12th, 2010 6:21 pm ET

I'm buying stocks in this when it comes out, I can see it getting really popular. The idea that you illiminate a central server and use seed instead is amazing. The only thing I see that might be a challange is the privacy of the user, but that shouldn't be a problem at all.

What's with bubble tea?   May 12th, 2010 6:21 pm ET


You're comparing apples and oranges. Online banking is a convenient, and useful/needed method of doing banking. It's something that fulfill a need. The most basic requirements as humans are food and shelter. A job provide the means to obtain food. Banking obviously is tied to money....
Do you NEED a facebook/myspace tweet account? Does your job depend on it?
Unless your boss demands that you have a facebook account or you get laid off(I don't see how this can ever happen), facebook use is a want not a need. People got by just fine with icq and msn before facebook came around. I wonder why that was the case.

Johnny b   May 12th, 2010 6:46 pm ET

Ummm, Its called E-mail, Or its predecessor, Mail.

Can'tAnyoneWriteASentence   May 12th, 2010 7:02 pm ET

To Dodo's Aren't Extinct - if you don't want to be the evidence of your own point, fix your name; there's no apostrophe in the phrase "Dodos Aren't Extinct", unless "Aren't Extinct" is some sort of a noun that belongs to the Dodo.

vas   May 12th, 2010 7:06 pm ET

Facebook was founded by a private group that receives all of it funding from the CIA.

Tiffany   May 12th, 2010 7:33 pm ET

Friendster->to MySpace->to Facebook->to who cares?

on a related note:
Hey CNN – why are you pulling my Fb friends into your right sidebar when I'm not logged in? I'm guessing you cookied me when I posted an article to my profile. But ya know what – I'M NOT LOGGED IN. What if I posted your article from a public computer? It looks like you would be posting *my friends* on your homepage for anyone who steps up to the computer to see. Privacy fail. I'm about to remove your cookie.

Kynt   May 12th, 2010 8:08 pm ET

@Jack: Funny, if it weren't so sad.

Kita M.   May 12th, 2010 8:33 pm ET


The First Amendment means the GOVERNMENT cannot restrict or retaliate against your right to free speech.

It in no way applies to the facebook, CNN or any media site.

You fecking moron.

Lance   May 12th, 2010 9:03 pm ET

This also means that the Admin has access to your PC as well the next big corporation that buys the site. The only reason to start a social networking site is to eventually sell it for a nice sum and who knows what the buyer has in mind. This could be worse than Face Book.

thomas A.   May 12th, 2010 9:09 pm ET

great idea! but it's so stupid to let it out when they haven't implemented it. They should have kept it a secret, and reveal it once it's ready. I think it'll take more than 3 months.

Shaun from NC   May 12th, 2010 11:21 pm ET

Too late for a challenger? That's what people said about Facebook when Myspace was the dominate site. Social Media is like a professional sports league, there is always a new challenger, but Diaspora can't be a paid service or else it won't be successful.

Johnny NoOne   May 12th, 2010 11:22 pm ET

Wasn't Ning supposed to be the latest and greatest social network? Now they are planning on charging 2.97 a month for the basic free service. Sorry but no thanks. The moment Facebook starts charging I am outta there.

kelly   May 12th, 2010 11:41 pm ET

sounds a lot like a social network similar to what napster was to music before all the lawsuits - computers in touch with each other through that website, people sharing what they have on their computers directly with others. so, not really a new idea, just a new way of using an old idea.

Jack   May 13th, 2010 12:09 am ET

if this takes off, it will be ultimately be just a link in the same old chain of the old model of hi tech based hype. however, i do wish you do make some bucks. everyone wants to make some bucks. your inferred interest in social media is really... about you.

yonikki   May 13th, 2010 12:11 am ET

that's a fresh idea for those who complain about FB

Bampaz   May 13th, 2010 12:31 am ET

Peer to peer is a good idea. It sounds exciting.

But instead of focusing on self promotion and talking about the philosophy the guys could have given more technical details on this project.

Is it gonna be a standalone app? Or a plugin to a web browser, or something else?

If it's not integrated into a web browser (a standalone program), this will be a problem.

Danko Ramone   May 13th, 2010 12:50 am ET

"Social Media," "Social Networking," and all of it's other names has been around a LOT longer. It's all basically just a chat room, in the end. More bells and whistles make it look far more upscale and white collar, but in the end, it's all just Yahoo chat grown up and prettier.

Marco   May 13th, 2010 12:56 am ET

This can't be a browser plugin, it will have to be an actual application. Which will not be a problem at all. It would be like how everyone learned to use Napster, or download torrents. A slight learning curve at first and then everyone in the world knows how and does it.

For those out there who don't understand... this social networking system will NOT be like the other ones (facebook, myspace, friendster, etc.) because it will NOT BE A WEBSITE. The links will be direct, not through some 3rd party website where you upload your information. That is the POINT.

power4things   May 13th, 2010 1:28 am ET

Send personal data and photos to a stranger's personal computer ... yes, that sounds much safer. At least with a big company, there's liability, they can't hide. Bad idea ...

ann   May 13th, 2010 1:46 am ET

I hate the name. Diaspora. What's that all about?

Harold T.   May 13th, 2010 1:51 am ET

Those of you complaining about 'if you don't want to share don't share' etc, are missing the point. People don't mind sharing with their friends, that is the point of sites like Facebook. But facebook keeps moving the goal posts on their privacy settings. So people think they are only sharing with friends but in fact sharing with a wider audience than they intended. That's the problem. I know people who were private but since the december changes are now semi public. Naturally i can't say anything to them because I get labeled a stalker.

Matty McG   May 13th, 2010 2:26 am ET

So I read Adam's post and felt compelled to respond. Only thing is – Ed already beat me to the punch. Awesome one-liner Ed.

Velma   May 13th, 2010 2:41 am ET

Facebook. Boooooring. Go outside and do something useful.

Sai   May 13th, 2010 4:32 am ET

Is this supposed to better from a Privacy standpoint???

Facebook is akin to meeting strangers in the marketplace.
Diaspora is akin to bringing strangers home.

Giving your friends access to files on your computer? I see this as a security nightmare and a hacker's utopia...

Ggita Allan   May 13th, 2010 4:53 am ET

All Lies!

Joe   May 13th, 2010 5:06 am ET

@dodo That's just the way the system works. Most people don't work for free. You don't, correct?

gizmokc   May 13th, 2010 5:49 am ET

blah blah balh

gizmokc   May 13th, 2010 5:50 am ET

oops, you know what I mean

Bakhtiar Hasan   May 13th, 2010 5:53 am ET

Completely rubbish. Still there is a middleman in between & it is Diaspora. @ the end, these people will sell this to FB or Twitter for big bucks.

hhm   May 13th, 2010 6:35 am ET

When you upload a picture of little Johnny to Facebook, it's like the proverbial 'pee in the pool'. It's out there and you're not going to get it back. That picture sits on Facebook servers and they retain rights to it that you gave them when you signed up for their service. You can delete it from your profile, but it sits there forever on a Facebook server. Think about that for awhile.

shuh-up   May 13th, 2010 7:24 am ET

As someone who isn't a member of MyFace or SpaceBook this seems pretty coo but NYU doesn't have a legit 1-A football team so i just dunno. Can't I just call select people and meet them like 12 years ago?

AGeek   May 13th, 2010 7:32 am ET

As usual, a solution in search of a problem. If you don't want it on Google's home page or on the front page of your local newspaper, don't publish it to the internet (email, "social" sites, blogs, etc). Once it's out there, it truly is pee in the pool. Between the internet archive and people saving to local disks, it's gone. You are no longer in control of that information. (you may *own* that information, but unless you have a bank account sufficient to fund a small country worth of attorneys, you're not going to control it.. ever.). The only "trustable" sites are one you have an existing, legal relationship with – your bank. Even then, read the fine print. Twice. Carefully.

Any technology solution like Diaspora, as noble as the concept may be, is almost certain to have multiple, ongoing security holes rather than ever be perfectly secure.

Seriago   May 13th, 2010 7:34 am ET

I deleted my FaceBook account just a few weeks back because I don't trust them any longer with my stuff. I liked Facebook at first but no longer do. What these guys are offering seems to be in line with my privacy preferences so I wish them all the best and will be the first to join.

Face to face/real social interaction is, and will always be, more then any Internet interaction can offer, but for now and for my 'long distant friends' this is the next best things/options ... one which I'll be able to control on my own.


casey-   May 13th, 2010 7:47 am ET

i agree w hhm. google your name once. pictures from facebook appear- HOW IS THAT PRIVACY?! smart one guyys!!!!

Will   May 13th, 2010 8:11 am ET

I don't get all the whining about Facebook and privacy. First off, it's called a SOCIAL network. You sign up for Facebook for the specific purpose of sharing information. This is called being social. Second, the entire process of signing up and entering information is completely and absolutely VOLUNTARY. You put in your name. You enter your phone number. You input your address. You upload the photos. Most of the personal information fields on Facebook are completely optional and/or could be filled with fake information. Third, is your information really that valuable? Does it really matter if Facebook shares your movie interests, or what books you like? Is it really that big a deal? Finally, Facebook is FREE. People are complaining about a service they don't even pay for. If you wanted complete control of an online profile you could literally pay for space on a server to host files and then build (or pay someone to build) a secure site where you share your information only with friends. Why don't people do this? It's not FREE.

Josh   May 13th, 2010 8:11 am ET

There's a word for this in the tech community. It's called vaporware. Over $85,000 donated so far? And now CNN front page coverage? What's to keep them from taking the money and not releasing any product? These guys are still in college!

Polly   May 13th, 2010 8:11 am ET

I'm going to say something unpopular here . . . . I actually LIKE Facebook. I am a stay at home mother and it is lovely to see what my friends are up to and look at their pictures and rejoice, laugh, or sympathise with their life events. Call me a narcissist if you will, but it helps to keep me connected to the outside world. And it's worth giving them my name and email address to have that connection. You don't have to share everything with these sites, or accept every friend request, and if you use it wisely then what's the problem? Also, really tired of the comments about how facebook is soooo boring and how the commentor just doesn't care. Why respond if you don't care? feigning indifference is just soooo ccooool apparently.

mb   May 13th, 2010 8:12 am ET can't be 'anti-facebook' and still a social networking site...

Tim W.   May 13th, 2010 8:13 am ET

I guess I would need to read up on this service. As a security engineer , it sounds like it's nothing more than a peer-to-peer connection where you are "sharing" specific folders on your personal system. "Seeding" is typically a bit torrent term used for downloading files from multiple sources ( or seeds ).

I don't have a dog in this fight because I am not a big fan of the social networking sites. Good 'ol forums and discussions do it well enough for me.

anon   May 13th, 2010 8:13 am ET

@ann why don't you google "diaspora" to see what it means and maybe you'll appreciate why they chose the name; it is likely referring to them being FB refugees.

Aside from that, I am astounded at the total lack of logic involved by posters here (since when is internet banking a human need???). "Sharing" is not a black and white or face to face versus Facebook only sort of world-there are degrees of sharing between the extremes. With that bi-polar view of life I guess there is only celibacy and totally open relationships? No, there's also monogamy, get the point. People want to share (I'm back to talking about facebook you pervs!) different things with different people at different times, and the growing opinion seems to be that Facebook doesn't give members enough control over the who/what/when of sharing. So if Facebook won't provide that level of control another site/service/solution is bound to emerge; it doesn't require deleting your FB account-it just means people will have choices about how to share.

It looks like these kids have a good idea, although they appear clueless about funding requirements. Their other main problem will be technological skepticism; if the site is geared toward those who really value their privacy they will need to be totally convinced that they truly do control content they place on it.

Shawn   May 13th, 2010 8:17 am ET

@Richard. There exists such a network. It's called the telephone. The only difference between the way things have been done and the way they're doing it nowadays is that information can be shared and accessed at the speed of light in some cases. I agree that people need to be educated on the reality of Facebook. I also agree that if you don't want something shared, then don't share it. Nothing about human nature has changed due to Facebook and the internet. Only the speed, ease, and scope by which someone can embarrass themselves has changed.

Anna   May 13th, 2010 8:20 am ET

I'd be way more afraid of having personal info on the PCs of my friends than whatever I share on FB. There has been a rule ever since the first e-mail was written: If you wouldn't mail it on an open postcard, don't put it in an e-mail (or otherwise on the Internet). Facebook can only spread what everyone puts out there. So if we just think twice before hitting "Share", that's all that is required to protect our privacy, whether on FB or alsewhere.

Kristi   May 13th, 2010 8:23 am ET

Another waste of time for people who should be doing something productive

Soylent   May 13th, 2010 8:24 am ET

The problem is not people who are whining about Facebook, and you can say "just don't sign up." The real key are people like myself and other early adopters. We got into this early on, when Facebook was still good, and had good privacy. But they've changed their privacy policy so many times, with no option to opt out, that who knows who has control of my data anymore? I came to CNN a week or two ago and my freaking face pops up on the screen with CNN asking if I want to merge accounts. Um... No? Maybe Facebook could have asked me about that before they sold me to Time Warner?

A lot of people still care about privacy, and are worried by this kind of stuff. With the latest privacy settings, you can lock down your own Facebook account and protect your data, but the default setting is that if you visit a webpage and your settings are not locked down, you share your data *and all of your friends data*. This means your personal information is only secure as the stupidest person you know. Does the stupidest person you are friends with on Facebook value your privacy as much as you do?

The only option left for me was to purge my account. Remove every picture, all likes and dislikes, every piece of biographical data. If Unfortunately Facebook still stores this data on their servers for an unknown amount of time, and they *will not delete it when requested*. You have to keep your account active for a while until a new series of backups overwrites your old data... or so you hope.

That's not what I signed up for.

David Wood   May 13th, 2010 8:37 am ET

You know what? If you don't want it looked at or stolen, don't put it on the freakin' internet, folks! What is wrong with everyone's mind?
Since when has personal responsibility for your own actions been taken out of the equation???

Brian   May 13th, 2010 9:01 am ET

it's hilarious that I can "recommend" this article on Facebook with the link at the bottom

The Truth   May 13th, 2010 9:07 am ET

The Irony is that people recommended this on FACEBOOK.

eastcoast6   May 13th, 2010 9:17 am ET

It'll be great until they sell it to Facebook or MySpace for gazillions of dollars.

Dan   May 13th, 2010 9:22 am ET

People? How do I say this kindly... In the words of Captain Kirk, speaking through his REAL LIFE persona known as William Shatner... GET A LIFE!

JT   May 13th, 2010 9:22 am ET

why did facebook make the "privacy" statement in the first place? why on earth would they want or need to retain and own every little piece of info that is uploaded? it just seemds likes it should be illegal.

BossHogg   May 13th, 2010 9:22 am ET

Hey X...Miles asked for a link to the actual site...the links that you pointed out to Miles are not for the actual website...they are for other links. Check it out before you Duh someone.

Mike Stanton   May 13th, 2010 9:26 am ET

Heads up Diaspora developers! Your project will fail if you keep that name. You need to make the name simple and catchy like "facebook". Otherwise casual users will not remember it, and you will not have the kind of growth you will need for this to be a success.

I promise you.

Seriago   May 13th, 2010 9:26 am ET

Amazing how people get defensive and vertical with others when someone say they don't like Facebook's own privacy contacts no more and are planning to moved on etc... Amazing!

Will   May 13th, 2010 9:30 am ET

Wow! What a brilliat idea! This is going to really take off and destroy facebook. Not.

Mike   May 13th, 2010 9:33 am ET

Protip: If you're gonna start a social networking site, start by naming it something that most people can read and pronounce.

Roger   May 13th, 2010 11:12 am ET

I'm sick of people complaining about people complaining about people complaining about Facebook. Really, if you want to complain, complain about something directly, rather than complaining about the complaining. It's so easy to complain about the complainer and that is really my biggest complaint. If you don't like Facebook, then complain about it. If you don't like the complaints about Facebook, then you really need to complain elsewhere. There are plenty of complaint sites to where you can submit your complaint, but to simply complain about the complainer just doesn't cut it. So stop complaining about the complaining about Facebook – it's really cheesing me off.

bee   May 13th, 2010 11:19 am ET

if you just opt out or tinker with your privacy settings, this doesn't pose much of a problem right?

Mike   May 13th, 2010 11:23 am ET

ROLOL!!! Roger you should hear what you just said to your own self... its as if your double standard is invisible from your own understanding. Vent all you want Roger, I doubt you'll stop people from doing the same.

theandyorr   May 13th, 2010 11:53 am ET



Another Mike   May 13th, 2010 12:11 pm ET

People are naive. If people are to trust and upload their personal data, photos and stuff on web, they should accept the fact of privacy's absence. Same goes to corporations, governments, etc. Everything that reaches the Internet is no more secret, and as such, there might be only unrevealed secrets of nature, that are still keept secret from most people. All personal data is no secret. In other words, I know whom your wife is sleeping with, and you know my shoe size.

eric   May 13th, 2010 12:49 pm ET

i totally agree with adam, quit your whining. if your gonna cry about facebook, then just dont have one. plain and simple.

eric   May 13th, 2010 12:51 pm ET

i now wish i could delete my last comment, rodger made a very valid point and i now agree. lol

C'mon Now   May 13th, 2010 2:31 pm ET

how about calling the site Diapera... that way if they eventually take people's info we can always say, "The original idea seemed quite fresh but it was only a matter of time before they became full of cr&p."

Anna   May 13th, 2010 3:23 pm ET

It's called Diaspora, and it's an idea from four New York University students who say in a video pitch that big online companies like Facebook shouldn't be allowed to have access to, and to some degree "own," all of the personal data that flows in and out of their social networks.


And you should be allowed? Eh it'll be another epic fail in about 10-20 yrs.

Timothy   May 13th, 2010 4:58 pm ET

Diaspora is an open source project. I'm sure they will create a GPL license that will set this program free in to the wild. Like Linux and a host of other open source projects, much of the work is done by people for free. It's hard to believe that people donate such energy for free, but Joomla, Drupal, WordPress.... etc all live by this for the most part. FaceBook will not be able to purchase Diaspora.

Diaspora seems like it will use standard RSS. RSS (really simple syndication) always 'pushes' information to the subscribers (friends) and I would assume that you (the owner) will have complete control over the who, what, when and where. Diaspora is _not_ a P2P network at all. Diaspora is not trying to protect your privacy from your friends. You trust your friends with your information ...right?

The whole fight is about FaceBook 'selling' my personal information I'm sharing with my friends (who I trust) to companies (who I don't trust) with out my permission. And to top it all off, FaceBook lays claim to all my information on their servers as their property, to do what they like with it and to profit off my life/information/friends.

Timothy   May 13th, 2010 5:10 pm ET

@Anna – Diaspora is not a 'hub' for your information. All these kids are doing is making a program for you to run on your server/home computer. That's the whole point of Diaspora, your information lives on your computer and those who you wish to share that information with.

Example : Your my friend and "subscribe" to my profile/page/diaspora. I grant you permission to access my information I store on my PC/server. You can now access information or the parts I allow you to see. You do the same in return.

FaceBook : I log in to their servers. You request to be my friend, I accept. You have access to most all my information be default. My information lives on Facebooks' servers. I cannot control my information as I would wish... but this is really not a big deal. FaceBook decides to sell my information to Nothing I can do about it due to FaceBooks' ToS (terms of service). FaceBook keeps installing applications in to my profile with out my permission...nothing I can do about it.

christian   May 14th, 2010 9:42 pm ET

its just another thing to get people excited and will eventually fail just like myspace and facebook.

Caan   May 15th, 2010 8:48 am ET

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: the internet! Give them a comment section and they will have the *stupidest* arguments!

egiscodr   May 15th, 2010 3:59 pm ET


Isn't this just a P2P network? Hardly a new concept.

Sency   May 15th, 2010 6:32 pm ET

Anti Facebook sentiment has been talked about all over the web – but this site don't look too great

Will   May 16th, 2010 8:23 am ET

The thing about facebook though is that because it's not on a computer, you know the stuff is safe from destruction. Like if my computer were to be destroyed today (as they often are... I've had 5 computers in 3 years... heavy user), then the information I have on facebook and flikr would still be safe.

aynrand67   May 16th, 2010 9:25 am ET

There are quite a few sites built on anti-facebook philosophy. The motto is complete control on privacy, content and connections. One such site is – you are the network. By default it is priviate.

nolajess   May 17th, 2010 12:19 pm ET

@Soylent – Thank you for articulating the problem for those of us who have been facebooking since before all the privacy change drama. It's easy for people to say "don't sign up" and "it's the internet so of COURSE it public" but that's not how FB originally operated, not what we signed up for, and something we no longer have a choice to 'opt out' of.

Asakuun D.   May 17th, 2010 12:46 pm ET

Firstly, Facebook is – NOTE THIS – just a way for the government to track you. I disapprove of Facebook users.

Secondly, I plan on checking out Diaspora soon.


John   May 17th, 2010 4:01 pm ET

These people deserve the failure, are pathetic.

Tommy   May 17th, 2010 4:42 pm ET

All of you are as pathetic as facebook!

Tommy   May 17th, 2010 4:46 pm ET

The fact is that some humans are as addicted to the internet as they can be of drugs. Most of you pathetic USERS could not stop if you wanted to. You are as addicted to the attention as a crack head to beaming up. I rarely comment on these sights but felt the need to point out how ridiculous and lost you all truly are.

smc, central PA   May 17th, 2010 5:46 pm ET

I can't believe people are dumb enough to throw money at some unproven undergrads who have written nothing. They don't even seem to be aware of other efforts toward open social networking protocols.

Michael   May 17th, 2010 6:18 pm ET

Roger, I'M sick of people complaining about people complaining about people complaining about complaining about Facebook. Really, if you want to complain about complaining, complain about complaining directly. sorry am rolling around laughing now. weeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Michael Durwin   May 17th, 2010 8:07 pm ET

The quotes just go to show you how little these kids know about social networks. Computers connected to allow sharing of media and communications is called the Internet. Social networks have been around since the first days of AOL, even though most Gen Y kids still think Friendster was the first, if they don't just use the fallback of MySpace.
Earlier commentors are correct, once a niche social network like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Becomes big business, it becomes about big business not about the users, or about being cool and new.

GD   May 18th, 2010 3:14 am ET

If people are STUPID enough to put their personal information on the web, they deserve what they get.

As for farcebook "friends", that's like saying your bank or credit card company is your "friend"...and if you believe that, you also deserve what you get.

Where profit or privacy complete in a social environment, profit will always win.

Tony   May 18th, 2010 1:07 pm ET

Please check this out.

Untangle just came out with the new SaveFace. It is a very easy way to lock down your privacy setting on your Facebook account.

Saul Bejarano   May 18th, 2010 4:34 pm ET

And how long will it take for this guy to be the same?
So far I like Facebook, I put what I want and I am not concern a bit about my privacy or what they can do with my information at the end your are part public part private.
You have a name which people knows and calls you, you have a house which is listed in any telephone book and anybody who sees you riding an expensive car or fine jewel knows that you have money.
So what is all this crap about security that we hear all the time???
Just that CRAP!
Live a life stop making it more complicated.

DW   May 19th, 2010 7:48 pm ET

This is ridiculous! Although Facebook began as a social network, its popularity has been soaring because of its functionality as a targeted marketing tool. In other words, the reason businesses use it is BECAUSE information is readily available.

If you took away all of the marketers (which includes all facebook gamers who market to build up their Mafia, neighbors, friends, etc) you'd only have about 10% of the total number of users on facebook. (granted that number is purely speculative.)

Social forums where you can only see information from people in your network already exist. for example. Even they all combined they'd never come even close to what facebook has become in terms of online power and utility.

poobear   May 20th, 2010 5:51 pm ET

OK, so there hooking up a website to already existing P2P services. And it will cost 10G to do so, wow, I'll do it for 5G.

Dodo is a tard   May 22nd, 2010 12:11 pm ET

As usual there are nothing but negative comments. Seriously Dodo ... if you hate Myspace and Facebook ... s ... t ... f ... u about these guys ... ANYONE doing anything to combat those horrible sites is a good thing. Who knows if it will become ultra commercial. To me this stuff is more akin to Linux than actual Facebook or Myspace. That isn't meant as a compliment ... Linux did get commercialized to some extent ... and it largely failed. But hey it provided an alternative to the industry standard. Anything that isn't Facebook or Myspace is good.

Entropy   May 25th, 2010 1:31 am ET

What's with the 'Revenge of the Nerds' comment. It's rude!

swright   May 29th, 2010 6:36 am ET

@ Dave – Yours was the best comment on here.

facepuppet   June 20th, 2010 2:48 pm ET

Wow talk about ... in agreement – very much in line with my blog
facepuppet dot com cheers to all

Rob Stan   September 5th, 2010 11:48 pm ET

I looked at some screenshots of the Diaspora Preview that someone was able to get their hands on. The preview looks pretty basic, but there is now telling how old it is. Good luck to Diaspora and I hope to see the concept succeed.

Anyway, here are some screenshots of the Diaspora Preview.

Mike Zucko   September 23rd, 2010 5:02 pm ET

LOL, is this a joke? Theres already a website out that is going to be the REAL anti-facebook, even the color scheme is the complete opposite.... the site is .... its

Kyle DiOrtegi   September 23rd, 2010 5:12 pm ET

I Made a profile on that earlier this month. It really is what you say " the anti- facebook" I love it. I aren't even Google-able haha the website gives me the option.

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SOS!! Gram to protest on Independence Square in Ukraine (the press is silent) Live 22.10.2010

Mike   November 30th, 2010 5:53 am ET

Myspace and Facebook are both easy to say and remember. Diaspora? Not so much. Try something easier to pronounce and not something you think sounds awesome, but everyone else thinks sounds like a noise you make while sneezing.

David Salter   December 17th, 2010 12:02 pm ET

What's the problem? Sure Fakebook uses your information – but I believe it is used for targeted marketing. Those little adverts you get in the sidebar – seem to be strangely aware of what you are likely to buy. Now personally I don't like Facebook, I have an account so that any old friends that might be looking for me can get in contact, and I occasionally browse through my friends' comments to see what they are up to – but I don't use it for chatting, and put vry little information of my own on there. One thing that Facebook is very good for though is for spotting the twats. Even people you thought you knew for many years show their true colours. For example, someone who has collected 400 friends (who they have never met – and who are strangely mostly of the opposite sex with attractive photos) and who has hundreds of pictures of themself – depicting how wonderful their life is, and that they have taken themself) – this person obviously has a few issues.

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I love the concept. But you will not get a huge migration of Facebook followers over to that site any time soon. Face book is a beast and
people talk so much garbage about it and it still is one top of the social media ranks.

My new Social media site is Google , I'm loving it.
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