Facebook is the dominant social platform, no doubt about that. But there are times when you start to long for an alternative to the giant. And there can be many reasons for that.
You could be fed up with all the tracking and privacy issues or simply need a place to voice your ideas without fear of getting banned.
You could as well be tired of the boring blue and white design, the fake news, politics, or simply facing the same old people and discussions every time.
The good news is that you are not alone and there are many alternatives out there. We will look at them and what they have to offer in this post.
Top Facebook alternatives
|Parler||Free speech, conservatives||15 million|
|Clubhouse||Audio chats||6 million|
|Nextdoor.com||Local networking||27 million|
|Vero||Ad & algorithm free||5 million|
“No BS. No Ads, No Targeting, No Newsfeed manipulation”.
That is the MeWe slogan and it is a great app for those concerned with Facebook’s privacy issues. The platform is rapidly gaining users and competes with Parler.
Since there are no ads, there is no targeting. There is no facial recognition and no selling of data to advertisers.
MeWe comes with great features though, such as a dedicated newsfeed for close friends. There are also business and fan pages, chat features, open and private groups, and voice messaging features.
It also offers stories, disappearing content, memes, GIFs, nearly 3,000 emojis, doodles, and more. MeWe even has Tim Berners-Lee, the world wide web inventor, on its advisory board.
Users: 10 million
Founded on the promise of free speech, Parler appeals to a wide audience. These groups include conservatives, right-wing extremists, conspiracy theorists, and everyone else that got banned on Facebook or Twitter for hate speech.
The name stands for “speak” in the French language and the service originally had just 2 restrictions: No crime and no spam.
However, the US Capitol storming in January 2021 led to Amazon Web Services pulling the plug on the site. Apple and Android have also blocked the apps in their app stores. So, although the site is back up, you can’t just download the app easily.
You will have to follow the instructions on https://company.parler.com/android to download the app for Android devices. But you should keep in mind that side-loading of apps often comes with security risks and that is why you can’t even do it on iOS devices.
The solution, therefore, remains to use the Parler website directly.
Users: 15 million
Focus: Free speech, conservatives
Another issue that puts people off on Facebook is the visual-only interaction. Many see it as unnatural since most inter-human communication is verbal. That’s why the Clubhouse network is currently on fire.
People are finding joy in communicating in a more natural arrangement. You can create a room or join one created by someone else. Then just relax and listen to the conversation. You can find conversations on so many topics.
You can decide to join the conversation by raising your hand, but you will need the moderator to give you a speaking right before you can become one of the room’s speakers.
The clubhouse app is cool because you can listen in while working, driving, doing the dishes, and so much else that is not possible with a visual-only network like Facebook.
Users: 6 million
Focus: Audio chatting
While Facebook is a global brand, it often falls short when it comes to physical locations. So, if you need an app to help you network with real people around you, then check out Nextdoor.com.
As the name implies, this platform helps you to connect with your neighbors. And this includes everyone and everything nearby – from news to local businesses, items for sale, local services, and so on.
Nextdoor makes it easier to reach out to your neighbors, get the latest gist in the neighborhood, find a missing dog or cat, and connect with public agencies for critical information.
It is currently available in 11 countries – Canada, France, UK, US, Australia, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Germany, and Sweden.
Users: 27 million
Focus: Local networking
Lovers of open-source or DIY self-hosted platforms will love Mastodon. The package lets you register on the network for free to connect with others, and it also lets you host part of the network if you like.
You can download the server from GitHub and set it up on your own. It features a micro-blogging system similar to Twitter. But each independently hosted Mastodon node can have a unique TOS and code of conduct.
All the servers still communicate together to form a larger network though. Mastodon is available in 69 languages and on the web, iOS, Linux, Android, BSD, Windows, and macOS.
It gives communities the autonomy they need to operate independently online. Organizations can start their servers if they like, and there is no commercial pressure to sell ads or tamper with users’ privacy.
Users: 4.4 million
Focus: Open-source platform
The Vero social network solves two annoying features on Facebook – algorithm and ads. Facebook originally showed posts chronologically, but then it switched to that silly AI system that thinks it knows what you want to see.
Vero is free from this algorithm and advertising as well. So, its users get that feeling of an untampered social experience, without commercial interests trying to invade your life. This makes it truly social. It is also well designed, so you can intuitively enjoy the social experience.
You can get the app for both Android and iOS devices. It is currently rated 3.6 stars on the Play Store and 3.8 on the App Store.
Users: 5 million
Focus: Ad & algorithm free
If you are an art lover or creator, then Ello is worth a look. Originally launched as an anti-Facebook, Ello has evolved to focus on its core group of users, who are mainly creatives and those who hire them or buy their works.
Ello is available on the Play Store for Android, on the App Store for iOS devices, and on the web. You can view artworks without an account, but you will need a registration to follow someone, be followed, or post.
While most images on Facebook are from users who just take pictures and upload, Ello’s users take time to create their art pieces and many even provide proof of their ownership.
You will find everything from paintings to music, digital art, coloring books, GIFs, photos, NFTs, Fashion, and animations on the site. Plus you can easily connect with those who create the works you love.
Users: 3 million
Coming to the end of this list of the top alternatives to Facebook, you can see there are lots of impressive offers out there, although they all pale in size to the giant. Still, their unique features and policies from privacy to free speech and special focuses, make them highly valuable for anyone interested in something different