Exploring decentralized chat and microblogging platforms

Diaspora, Friendica, and Mastodon are free and decentralized microblogging platforms that keep you in control of your data.

Social media platforms are well established as an important means of communication for corporate environments as well as for personal users. Most users are aware, however, that data sovereignty is a significant problem in the social media space: Almost all leading platforms collect and aggregate user data for advertising purposes. In addition, government organizations sometimes make use of this information. In the USA, for example, providers are legally obligated to hand over data about their customers to investigative authorities such as the FBI after receiving a National Security Letter. Many users also worry about their data becoming exposed due to an attack, and centralized services pose a higher risk for attack, as the data is concentrated on a relatively small number of servers.

The problems associated with the massive, proprietary social media platforms have caused some companies and home users to pay more attention to short message services based on open source projects. These open source solutions are free of data mining, and their decentralized nature makes them less susceptible to the security problems associated with the Internet giants. This article examines some leading open source alternatives in the social media space.

All three of the tools described in this article support ActivityPub, a free protocol for supporting cross-platform social networks [1]. If two social media platforms support the ActivityPub protocol, they can exchange messages.

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