Social networks – most of us are part of one or more nowadays – but most people still aren’t aware of the ‘dangers’ that come with membership.
I’m not just talking about the risk of having an account hacked, clicking on a shared but malicious link or posting an embarrassing photo when drunk. There are other factors to consider too – and these are the ones most people give little thought to – such as the need for the firms behind them to make money in order to appease their investors.
How does a Facebook or a Twitter do that without a product to sell, or a monthly subscription to charge?
Simple – they make YOU the product.
Or, to be more precise, they make your data the currency with which they do business.
Even though we live in a post-Snowden world in which some people claim to value their privacy, the fact of the matter is – as Graham Cluley recently pointed out – most people “just don’t care”.
But they should.
Enter Minds.com, a new social network which promises to deliver a similar experience to its competitors, i.e. the ability to follow and interact with other people and share content, while promising privacy, security and transparency about how posts are promoted — making it the DuckDuckGo of social, if you like.
Unlike the more popular social sites, Minds.com will not seek to make money from data collection and will, instead, encrypt all messages shared across the service, thus ensuring they cannot be read by advertising companies or the various nosy governments of the world.
The site – which has been launched with both desktop and mobile apps – is open source, meaning anyone can contribute to its design and the upkeep of the network.
Based on a rewards system, Minds.com favours those who upload and share content or leave votes or comments, giving them points which they can then use to promote their own work:
For every mobile vote, comment, remind, swipe & upload you earn points which can be exchanged for views on posts of your choice. It’s a new web paradigm that gives everyone a voice.
With such a transparent system at it’s heart, what’s not to like?
As Mark James, security specialist at ESET, says:
The trouble with any type of social network is that it is only as good as the user base, whether it’s Friends Reunited or Facebook, without users and continuous support it cannot last long or sustain a large following.
Social networks are about the ability to connect with all your friends and find old or new contacts, there have been many instances of these attempting to take on the giant Facebook but few have come close.
Now I am not saying it doesn’t have a place, privacy, security and transparency about how posts are promoted is a great idea and I think it will have a loyal base of followers but it won’t be a Facebook killer. There will always be the association of malware with any social network as it’s a large captive audience with a high degree of trust from “friend” to “friend”.
And maybe the fact that it’s also heavily supported by the hacktivist collective Anonymous – the Robin Hoods of the internet or cyber terrorists, depending upon your point of view – who said:
Let us collaborate to help buildand other open-source, encrypted networks to co-create a top site of the people, by the people and for the people.
Does Minds.com sound appealing to you?