Just a short link suggestion for this week's post.
It's no news that privacy concerns on social media (and the internet in general) are becoming more prominent. One crucial mechanism for keeping businesses honest is competition. So in this post, I want to suggest a possible alternative to Facebook.
Minds.com is a social networking site that takes privacy and freedom of speech very seriously. Here is part of their (very readable) terms & conditions:
Minds software and services are designed to give you as much control and ownership over your social experience as possible and to encourage you to express yourself freely. However, be responsible in what you publish. In particular, make sure that none of the prohibited items listed below appear on your channel or get linked to/from your channel (things like spam, malware, viruses, or illegal content or serious threats of violence.)
If you find content that is objectionable, then Unsubscribe, Mute, Block, Report or just swipe on by. Minds is an open, free and public commons where users respect the right to use free speech. Of course, you may find a violation of these Terms of Service as you traverse Minds, in which case please Report the channel
Another notable aspect of Minds is its use of a token that is tied to the Ethereum blockchain. These tokens allow for things like subscription content and sending tips. A profile of the site in WIRED explains:
The tokens on Minds can be used for more than just ads; they essentially power the social network's entire ecosystem. Using Wire, the platform's built-in Patreon-like feature, users can tip creators, or pay for exclusive content, if someone chooses to place a post behind a paywall. You can also earn tokens by contributing to Minds' code, or discovering software bugs; the entire site is open source. Last month, Minds began testing converting its token system—which were previously called points—into a new cryptocurrency, the Minds token, which runs on the Ethereum blockchain network. In theory, Minds users will eventually be able to take their tokens to exchanges, and convert them into another cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, or even into dollars.
I signed up for a channel (their term for an account) on Minds a couple of weeks ago. So far it seems like it has some potential, although I'd need to have most of my friends using it before it would become my main social network. The dominant social networks (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, and maybe LinkedIn) can only really be replaced in a mass quorum → cascade process (see here for some general discussion on network effects). The open terms of service on Minds mean that there are channels there that might be blocked elsewhere, such as camgirls and alt-righters; however, explicit content is supposed to be tagged as such (and you have to opt-in to allow viewing it) and, as their policies say, you don't have to subscribe to anything you don't want to see. Finally, I'll note that I've tried to buy some of the Minds tokens using ETH but so far have not been able to—I get an error message each time. To be fair, the problem may be on my end, and I haven't seriously tried to resolve this issue since I've been able to earn a bit of the token through getting likes. I haven't tried using tokens for anything yet either.
If you'd like to try Minds, feel free to use my referrer link (disclosure: if you use it, I'll probably get some tokens from it).
Another social media site with a crytocurrency tie-in is Steemit, although I have not tried that one so I can't provide any comments about it.