At Last, a Viable Alternative to Facebook
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At last, someone has come up with a viable alternative to Facebook. Diaspora, the love brainchild of four self-described nerds, promises to be Facebook without the privacy issues. The four NYU students, Dan Grippi, Max Salzberg, Raphael Sofaer, and Ilya Zhitomirskiy, were as upset as anyone about the privacy pillaging juggernaut that Facebook has become and, in the time-honored tradition of student nerds, have said ‘Hell no, we’re not going to take it,” and, taking keyboards in hand, are doing something about it.

After mapping out the basics of their plan – an open-source system that anyone can run, making Diaspora a distributed social network – Grippi, Salzberg, Sofaer and Zhitomirskiy realized that even with eating and sleeping in their coding nest, they would need a few thousand dollars to sustain their efforts, if only to pay for their pizza and caffeine.


So they registered on a site where people with start-up projects can seek pledges of funding, and hoped for the best – that they could raise a few thousand dollars from a few sympathetic people who might get why they wanted to create Diaspora.

Much to their surprise, even if not to ours or yours, it turns out that their idea of a privacy-safe alternative to Facebook struck a chord with a lot of people.

“We were shocked. For some strange reason, everyone just agreed with this whole privacy thing,” says Grippi.

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In the space of just a couple if weeks they raised more than $23,000 from 739 people, most of them complete strangers.

Says Salzberg, “Maybe 2 or 3 percent of the money is from people we know.”

On their website the four enthused that “we had no idea we would get such worldwide support… We are really excited that our summer is going to become a reality, and can’t wait to make Diaspora the social application we all need.”

 

And so the Nerdy Four are hard at work coding Diaspora… Their bigger, better, less invasive version of Facebook. Says Sofear, “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.”

You can keep up with the latest Diaspora developments at the Diaspora website.

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The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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