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Facebook competitor Diaspora opens

Facebook competitor Diaspora opens

Diaspora aims to address some of the privacy concerns surrounding Facebook with a competing social networking site.

Social networking site Diaspora, which aims to be the Facebook of the open source world, has opened its doors to a limited number of users in an attempt to iron out the final bugs before a full launch.

The service, which has been in development for quite some time, began as a response to perceived privacy issues with Facebook - in particular, the company's terms and conditions that give it complete rights over all your personal data and the inability to remove your user account completely from the site.

Diaspora, by contrast, is based around the premise of giving its users full control over their personal data at all times. In the words of the site's founders, 'you own your pictures, and you shouldn’t have to give that up just to share them. You maintain ownership of everything you share on Diaspora, giving you full control over how it's distributed.'

As well as seemingly improved rights and privacy controls, Diaspora's unique selling point over other social networking services is its use of 'aspects' - groups of connections that allow you to share different material with different users. A user can create, for example, 'work,' 'friends,' and 'family' aspects - sharing updates on a project with one aspect, stories from the pub with another, and photos of family gatherings with a third.

The open source nature of Disapora also means that its source code is freely downloadable, and the company offers a guide for users to set up their own Diaspora servers for private collaboration.

In the past, however, this has caused problems: when the source code for Diaspora was first released, coders were quick to criticise it for major security failings - issues which have now, hopefully, been put to bed prior to this semi-public launch.

For those interested in an alternative to Facebook, the company has launched a queued registration system.

Do you think that Diaspora can compete with the might of Facebook by addressing people's privacy concerns, or will it end up being nothing more than a niche site? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

25 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Icy EyeG 24th November 2010, 16:30 Quote
Finally, I'll try to join, but I see a problem already if they want to be more than a niche site: They're asking to install Google ChromeFrame if you're on Internet Explorer.... This will drive off many users.
FIBRE+ 24th November 2010, 16:48 Quote
I'm still not on Facebook and I won't be joining this either. It's just mostly people you know talking crap from what I can tell, fair enough if people genuinely use it for keeping in touch though.

Diaspora have quite a big challenge as most people are on Facebook, even if they get one person they still have to persuade everyone else they know on there otherwise they wont use it if they don't have anyone else to communicate with.
Unknownsock 24th November 2010, 17:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by FIBRE+
I'm still not on Facebook and I won't be joining this either. It's just mostly people you know talking crap from what I can tell, fair enough if people genuinely use it for keeping in touch though.

Diaspora have quite a big challenge as most people are on Facebook, even if they get one person they still have to persuade everyone else they know on there otherwise they wont use it if they don't have anyone else to communicate with.

Depends, I'm on it, don't use it much though, but it's great to share stuff and plan events with ease.
Azayles 24th November 2010, 17:29 Quote
If I have to install third party software like this GoogleFrame thing, then forget it. Besides, I never use IE, I'm more of a Firefox man.
Reitau 24th November 2010, 17:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizard
Diaspora, which aims to address privacy concerns surrounding Facebook, is asking for users.

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/bits/2010/11/24/facebook-competitor-diaspora/1

Fail already. Took me 3 attempts to pronounce it, and Im still not sure I can, FaceBook is easy to say and thus spreads through common knowledge very quickly.

Just a little point on privacy, who would write down all thier personal details and put it up in the window at the front of thier house? No one? Thought not. Facebook is as private as you want it to be, IMO.

Alex.
Xir 24th November 2010, 17:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reitau
Facebook is as private as you want it to be, IMO.
Shame that's not what Facebook thinks :D

I don't have a Facebook account. But I get personalized Facebook advertisements, as Facebook knows what emailadresses my friends have, and when I mail THEM...I get a Facebook-add with their face* in it.
Scary.

Especially scary, if Facebook knows that I send mail to some people (not to their Facebook account, mind you) and can react to that....they monitor me. Ever though I don't have an account with them.

*yes, actual pictures
cgthomas 24th November 2010, 17:50 Quote
Change that name first - would be a bit complicated for some people
mjm25 24th November 2010, 18:07 Quote
No chance. For one, the name is silly and not nearly as catchy as Facebook. Secondly the homepage uses proper English, most users of Facebook would never even think of using the word "whom"... (shair wt u wnt wiv whm u wnt? *shudder*)
Reitau 24th November 2010, 18:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
Shame that's not what Facebook thinks :D

I don't have a Facebook account. But I get personalized Facebook advertisements, as Facebook knows what emailadresses my friends have, and when I mail THEM...I get a Facebook-add with their face* in it.
Scary.

Especially scary, if Facebook knows that I send mail to some people (not to their Facebook account, mind you) and can react to that....they monitor me. Ever though I don't have an account with them.

*yes, actual pictures

Thats mad, who is your email provider? they are the ones with privacy issues not facebook...

For that to work, the email address you sent to is forwards to FB from your email provider. FB then check to see if they have it on record. FB then either updates your email provider site cookie or ad cookie with the friends account info, and then downloads that for ad purposes on a subscribed web page to FB's service.

I would change email provider! Im gonna stab at it and say your using Gmail? or maybe AOL? one of the big boys maybe... maybe even hotmail? I use Yahoo and its pretty free of ads save the odd movie film...

...

Your gonna say its Yahoo now arent you

Alex.
kerpwnt 24th November 2010, 18:51 Quote
I think a facebook alternative has to appeal to the lowest common denominator to be successful. Non-tech-savvy people who don't care who harvests their information need to be sold on this somehow. The name is just too strange for anyone but hipsters and literate people.
r3skyline 24th November 2010, 19:12 Quote
wait, there are people here that actually believe facebook is somewhat private??? xD

i saw this link thru OCN and had to comment on the fail.

facebook is in no way, private, AT ALL.
gnutonian 24th November 2010, 20:20 Quote
I quite like the idea, but it's not as cool as the equally-uncatchy-named FreedomBox (link).

However, having your own control over your own data is undoubtedly too complicated for most people who are now on Facebook. (Judging from my better half's Facebook "friends" anyway...)

(The name "Diaspora" isn't all that, but I can pronounce it without any problems. Then again, I'm me. :p)

Quote:
Shame that's not what Facebook thinks
Amen to that. I've blocked all Facebook-related (and Google-related) URLs on my main computer simply because of the tracking. I have no Facebook account, - and I may just be paranoid - but websites with the Facebook "Like" buttons freak me out. Why would my computer need to connect - and it does (well, did) - to Facebook to read a story on a (publicly-funded, might I add) news website?
Reitau 24th November 2010, 20:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnutonian
The name "Diaspora" isn't all that, but I can pronounce it without any problems. Then again, I'm me. :p

OK I will have a go...

Die Uh Spore Ah? or Dee Uh Spore Ah or Die Ass Pore Ah

I'm serious I cant say it lol

Alex.
Lazy_Amp 24th November 2010, 20:40 Quote
Yeah, the name does not reflect the content. Tripped off the bat.
billysielu 24th November 2010, 21:16 Quote
Diaspora was an awesome space MMO about 10 years ago :o)
tristanperry 24th November 2010, 21:39 Quote
O6nBhhnnuOM

Does seem to sum things up. Fairly play to Diaspora since I'm sure it took them loads of work, but I don't see this as necessary. The whole 'OEGM Fakebook share datta' thing does seem to mainly be a crowd-led over-reaction. You *can* control Facebook privacy settings pretty well (even before they made the recent-ish changes to the settings). But if a user *chooses* to have lax privacy settings, that's their fault/choice.
Kúsař 24th November 2010, 21:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reitau
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
Shame that's not what Facebook thinks :D

I don't have a Facebook account. But I get personalized Facebook advertisements, as Facebook knows what emailadresses my friends have, and when I mail THEM...I get a Facebook-add with their face* in it.
Scary.

Especially scary, if Facebook knows that I send mail to some people (not to their Facebook account, mind you) and can react to that....they monitor me. Ever though I don't have an account with them.

*yes, actual pictures

Thats mad, who is your email provider? they are the ones with privacy issues not facebook...

For that to work, the email address you sent to is forwards to FB from your email provider. FB then check to see if they have it on record. FB then either updates your email provider site cookie or ad cookie with the friends account info, and then downloads that for ad purposes on a subscribed web page to FB's service.

I would change email provider! Im gonna stab at it and say your using Gmail? or maybe AOL? one of the big boys maybe... maybe even hotmail? I use Yahoo and its pretty free of ads save the odd movie film...

...

Your gonna say its Yahoo now arent you

Alex.

This has nothing to do with e-mail provider or "evil facebook server". In fact it has more to do with your friends registered on FB. There's official FB application where you enter your email address and password, this application then logs to your email account and checks which email adressess are not registered on FB. And then it sends email with invitations to these adressess. It's clear it can't operate without your friends' input.

So you receive "customized" mails only because your friends have stored your email. It's quite easy way to gain trust and it's used by other social networks as well...

Though FB states application will not store your password I'd never ever give my password to anyone...
ChaosDefinesOrder 24th November 2010, 22:17 Quote
Isn't this the website where a month or so ago it turned out that the entire source code was a complete mess and failed on all fronts with what they were trying to do?
StoneyMahoney 25th November 2010, 00:22 Quote
What pisses me off about Facebook isn't the company's disregard for your personal information. It's my friend's disregard for my personal information. My Facebook profile is deliberately very sparse on details, but if you want to know what I look like I'm tagged in a number of pictures my friend's have uploaded. Pictures they have now surrendered the rights too and personally identified someone in who had no knowledge that they intended to that that.

Thanks a bundle you morons.
flibblesan 25th November 2010, 03:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneyMahoney
What pisses me off about Facebook isn't the company's disregard for your personal information. It's my friend's disregard for my personal information. My Facebook profile is deliberately very sparse on details, but if you want to know what I look like I'm tagged in a number of pictures my friend's have uploaded. Pictures they have now surrendered the rights too and personally identified someone in who had no knowledge that they intended to that that.

Thanks a bundle you morons.

You do realise you can set your own privacy settings so friends photos that you are tagged in do not show to anybody else but your friends? You can even set it so the photos only show to yourself.

The thing is that, by default, Facebook will allow your friends to see your content. It's up to you to change this to block information that you do not want people to see. The Facebook privacy settings are there for a reason and do a very good job.
BRAWL 25th November 2010, 10:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by flibblesan
Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneyMahoney
What pisses me off about Facebook isn't the company's disregard for your personal information. It's my friend's disregard for my personal information. My Facebook profile is deliberately very sparse on details, but if you want to know what I look like I'm tagged in a number of pictures my friend's have uploaded. Pictures they have now surrendered the rights too and personally identified someone in who had no knowledge that they intended to that that.

Thanks a bundle you morons.

You do realise you can set your own privacy settings so friends photos that you are tagged in do not show to anybody else but your friends? You can even set it so the photos only show to yourself.

The thing is that, by default, Facebook will allow your friends to see your content. It's up to you to change this to block information that you do not want people to see. The Facebook privacy settings are there for a reason and do a very good job.

Remember Joe Public thinks Facebook is the bane of all privacy these days, You can literally hide yourself from existance better than if you didn't have a Facebook to be fair!

I have a very well protected post system, don't post personal detail's (My friend got SMS bombed from his number on FB, hilarious much?) I don't share very much (other than blogs) I have to authorise tag's, family requests, comments on my wall etc... Facebook really is as protected as you want it. oh and Adblock works perfectly aswell :) Stupid Ad's annoy me...
Xir 25th November 2010, 10:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reitau
Thats mad, who is your email provider? they are the ones with privacy issues not facebook...
Your gonna say its Yahoo now arent you

it's GMX, a german provider ;-)
And ist's web based, so the privacy issue is my own (just can't be *rsed to mirror my mail onto the 4-5 different PC's i'm using, so webmail it is). :D
I'm pretty sure it's a google-powered-add thingy. The "your message was sent to" page contains the emailadresses, the add then checks these against a Facebook server, and replies with the corresponding picture.
It's the possibility of saving this data (which I don't doubt they do, I'd do it if I were Facebook) that scares me...
[- pio -] 25th November 2010, 20:59 Quote
They're obviously not going to be able to compete with Facebook from the get-go, but I still want to see what they have pulled off here! The idea is good, but I think the whole distributed servers idea will make a mess, unfortunately. At least they got a nice and simple logo :)

Also, that queue must be quite long; I signed up to that list several months ago, and I still haven't got an invite. Huh..

Oh, and one more thing: The naming is actually spot-on, you just need a minimum of historical/cultural capital to get it ;) (cheat-sheet, look at the general definitions, not all the stuff about the Jews in particular)
hirezo 25th November 2010, 22:36 Quote
maybe i ll join, i want to see what its like first...
L2wis 26th November 2010, 20:14 Quote
lol I love the fact they only support modern browsers :)
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