Drama free alternatives to Facebook
Be it for data breaches, misuse of personal information or simply for making our children miserable and vain, Facebook seems to be constantly in the firing line of late. If you’ve had your fill of the seemingly ubiquitous social network, here are a few drama free ways you can interact with your friends online. All of these services will work on your PC or your phone/mobile device, making them convenient to use whether you’re out and about or at your desk or laptop at home.
Telegram – Instant messaging services have a chequered history. Go back 20 years and the choices were AOL Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, MSN or ICQ. While most of those older services have closed down, the choices remain as numerous as ever, with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp (also owned by Facebook) taking the lions share of users. The Telegram service has been slowly gaining in popularity over the years, especially with those users who are disillusioned with Mark Zuckerberg’s social network empire.
Telegram is first and foremost an instant messaging program, but one that lets you easily share photos and videos too. You can also create private channels or group chats, allowing you to communicate with the people important to you without anyone else wading into your timeline. The service is fast and reliable, with very little down time over the past couple of years.
Drama rating – Telegram allows you to create private groups. These groups are invisible to anyone who is not a member. You can create groups for your family, your friends or interest group or for any reason at all. Unlike Facebook you won’t get interaction from friends of friends, or friends of friends of friends of friends who don’t understand what privacy settings are. This creates a less stressful environment and one that’s easier to control without wading through pages of privacy settings.
Privacy rating – Telegram claims chats between users are entirely private and encrypted. Several security researches have disputed this claim however. If you’re interested in keeping your conversations private from the likes of advertisers or companies, Telegram may well be sufficient. If you’re planning on making waves against a government, however, we wouldn’t be so sure!
To learn more about Telegram, visit the home page here.
Wickr – Once billed as SnapChat for grownups, Wickr has failed to make as big a splash in the social networking scene as its rival, but still boasts millions of happy users. The app allows you to send fully encrypted secret messages, pictures and files that will automatically self-destruct after a certain time. This makes Wickr ideal for more sensitive information, such as discussing tax or medical matters with a partner or family member.
Drama rating – The free version of Wickr supports only 1 on 1 messaging, so any drama stays between you and your friend.
Privacy rating – Wickr has consistently scored high on even the most stringent of privacy tests, with the EFF giving the service five stars out of five in it’s 2017 “Who Has Your Back” privacy report.
To learn more about Wickr, visit the home page here.
Mastodon – Want to stick it to the man and make your own social network where you call all the shots and even run the servers? We’re guessing that most of you said “no not really, that sounds like a lot of work”. Unfortunately you might be right, but if you’re determined, give Mastodon a shot. Rather than one central server, like Facebook and Twitter, Mastodon users can create their own, or simply join one maintained or created by a friend. If that’s all too much hassle, the mastodon.social server, or “instance”, is one place you can start.
Drama rating – Mastodon attracts users who are put off by the restrictions of Twitter and Facebook, so it can be an anarchic place with plenty of drama. If you’re looking for a tamer version of Twitter, you will need to carefully select the communities you join or create one entirely of your own.
Flickr – Sharing photos can be fun, but now more and more users are moving away from Facebook, posting photos to the social network can make them difficult to access for users who now shy away from Facebook’s servers. Luckily there are many alternative places to share photos online. Flickr remains one of our favourites. Beloved by photographers, there are few limits on the size and number of photos you can upload to your free account. With a click of a button these images can be shared anywhere, by e-mail, instant message or, of course, onto other social networks.
Drama rating – Flickr photos are public, but the service tends to be used more by photographers and enthusiasts than people simply wanting to upload selfies and holiday snaps. Because of this, there’s relatively little in the way of drama in the comments sections on the site, at least for now.
Privacy rating – Flickr is currently owned by Yahoo, who don’t have the best track record when it comes to data breaches and handling of private data. The website was recently sold to a company called SmugMug, but it’s unclear what their plans are for the future of the site.
To learn more about Flickr, visit the home page here.
As you can see, there are lots of good alternatives to Facebook that you can switch to any time you choose, the only question is, can you convince all your friends to make the switch too?