Facebook better watch its back

Facebook better watch its back

Social Media | Judette Coward-Puglisi

May 24, 2010


A quartet of "geeky college students" is building a social network that doesn’t "force people to surrender their privacy to big business," reports Jim Dwyer in the New York Times (5/12/10). The network, which is still under development, is called Diaspora* and consists of open-code, free software that people can use to "set up their own personal servers, called seeds, create their own hubs and fully control the information they share." Raphael Sofaer, one of the developers, says centralized systems, like Facebook, aren’t necessary.


"In our real lives, we talk to each other," says Raphael, 19. "We don’t need to hand our messages over to a hub. What Facebook gives you as a user isn’t all that hard to do. All the little games, the little walls, the little chat, aren’t really rare things. The technology already exists." Max Salzberg, 20, a co-developer meanwhile notes that when you give up your information to Facebook, "you’re giving it up forever. The value that they give us is negligible in the scale of what they are doing and what we are giving up in all of our privacy."


Raphael and Max, along with Ilya Zhitomirskiy, 20, and Dan Grippi, 21, met in a computer lab and so far have raised "$23,676 from 739 backers" for their project on Kickstarter. Dan says he and the guys "were shocked. For some strange reason, everyone just agreed with this whole privacy thing." Their venture also marks "a return of the classic geek means of production: pizza and ramen and guys sleeping under the desks because it is something that is really exciting and challenging." Says Max: "We’re making it because we want to use it." No, they don’t have a Facebook fan page, but you can follow them on Twitter, @joindiaspor"



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