9 Decentralized and Open Source Alternative Social Media Platforms

0

You probably know that Facebook was under fire for potentially sharing user data from its “end-to-end encrypted” chat service, WhatsApp.

The controversial privacy policy change in 2021 caused countless people to switch to WhatsApp alternatives.

Privacy-conscious people saw it coming a long time ago. After all, Facebook paid $19 billion to buy a mobile app like WhatsApp which made virtually no money at the time. Now is the time for Facebook to get the return on its $19 billion investment. So, they probably plan to share your data with advertisers so that you get more personalized (or invasive) ads.

If you’re tired of the “my way or my highway“attitude of big tech like Facebook, Google, and Twitter, maybe you could try some alternative social media platforms.

These alternative social platforms are open source, use a decentralized approach with P2P or Blockchain technologies, and you may be able to self-host some of them.

Open source and decentralized social networks

Image credit: Datonel on DeviantArt

I’ll be honest with you here. These alternative platforms may not give you the same type of experience that you are used to, but these platforms would not infringe on your privacy and freedom of expression. It’s a compromise.

1. Spirits

Alternative to: Facebook and YouTube
Features: Open-source codebase, Blockchain
Self-hosted: No

On Minds, you can post videos, blogs and images and set statuses. You can also send messages and video chat securely with groups or directly with friends. Trending feeds and hashtags allow you to discover articles that interest you.

It’s not that. You also have the opportunity to earn tokens for your contributions. These tokens can be used to upgrade your channel. Creators can receive direct payments in USD, Bitcoin, and Ether from fans.

2. Ether

Alternative to: Reddit
Features: Open Source, P2P
Self-hosted: No

Ether Reddit Alternative

Aether is an open source P2P platform for autonomous communities with verifiable moderation and mod elections.

Content on Aether is ephemeral in nature and is only retained for six months unless someone backs it up. As this is P2P, there are no centralized servers.

An interesting feature of Aether is its democratic communities. Communities elect mods and can remove them through votes.

3. Mastodon

Alternative to: Twitter
Features: Open Source, Decentralized
Self-hosted: Yes

Mastodon

Mastodon is already quite popular among FOSS enthusiasts. We’ve covered Mastodon as an open-source alternative to Twitter in the past, and you can also follow us on Mastodon.

Mastodon is not a single website like Twitter, it is a network of thousands of communities operated by different organizations and individuals that provide a seamless social media experience. Also known as “Fediverse”.

You can host your Mastodon instance and choose to connect it to other Mastodon instances, or simply join one of the existing Mastodon instances like Social juggernaut.

4.LBRY

Alternative to: YouTube
Features: Open Source, Decentralized, Blockchain
Self-hosted: No

LBRY opposite

In the heart, LBRY is a blockchain-based decentralization protocol. Along with the protocol, you get a digital marketplace powered by its own cryptocurrency.

Although LBRY allows creators to offer different types of digital content like movies, books, and games, it is basically promoted as an alternative to YouTube. You can access the video sharing platform at Odyssey.

We’ve covered LBRY on It’s FOSS in the past, and you can read that for more details. If you join LBRY, be sure to follow It’s FOSS via the link below.

5. Pixelfed

Alternative to: Instagram
Features: Decentralized, Open Source
Self-hosted: Yes

decentralized pixelfed

Pixelfed uses the same underlying open protocol used by Mastodon, i.e. ActivityPub.

So you can also interact with Mastodon instances through Pixelfed. I haven’t tried it yet, but theoretically you should be able to. You should find several active Pixelfed instances to sign up for.

Pixelfed is a simple alternative to Instagram if you want to control your data and privacy. You can control the privacy of your images without any ads on the platform.

You get the same basics as a photo sharing platform. However, you don’t have an algorithm powering the timeline, it follows a chronological order, not collecting any of your data for a personalized experience.

6. Peertube

Alternative to: YouTube
Features: Decentralized, P2P
Self-hosted: Yes

Multiplicity of the Peertube federation

Developed by the French company Framasoft, PeerTube is a decentralized video streaming platform. PeerTube uses the BitTorrent Protocol to share bandwidth between users.

PeerTube aims to resist corporate monopoly. It does not rely on ads and does not track you. Keep in mind that your IP address is not anonymous here.

There are different instances of PeerTube where you can host your videos or host them yourself. Some instances may charge money, while most are free.

7. Diaspora

Alternative to: Facebook
Features: Decentralized, Open Source
Self-hosted: Yes

Diaspora was one of the first decentralized social networks. It was 2010 and the Diaspora was presented as an alternative to Facebook. It received deserving spotlight in its early years, but was limited to a handful of niche members.

Similar to Mastodon, Diaspora is made up of pods. You can register with a module or host your own module. Big Tech doesn’t own your data, you do.

8. Dtube

Alternative to: YouTube
Features: Decentralized, Blockchain
Self-hosted: No

Dtube

Dtube is a blockchain-based decentralized YouTube clone. I use the word YouTube clone because the interface looks way too much like YouTube.

Like most other blockchain-based social networks, Dtube is governed by DTube Coins (DTC) which the creator earns when someone views or interacts with their content. Coins can be used to promote content or withdrawn from partner crypto exchanges.

9. Sign

Alternative to: WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger
Features: Open Source
Self-hosted: No

Signal messenger screenshot

Unlike end-to-end encrypted chats in WhatsApp, Signal doesn’t track you, share your data, or invade your privacy.

Signal became famous when Edward Snowden endorsed it. He became even more famous when Elon Musk tweeted about it after WhatsApp’s controversial privacy policy change sharing user data with Facebook.

Signal uses its Open Source Signal protocol to provide you with end-to-end encrypted messages and calls.

KARMA (discontinued)

Alternative to: Instagram
Features: Decentralized, Blockchain
Self-hosted: No

Blockchain-based Instagram alternative Karma app

Here is another blockchain-based social network governed by cryptocurrency.

KARMA is an Instagram clone built on an open-source blockchain platform, EOSIO. Every like and share of your content earns you KARMA tokens. You can use these tokens to boost your content or convert it into real money through one of the partner crypto exchanges.

KARMA is a mobile application only and is available on Play Store and App Store.

What else?

There are other platforms that are not open source or decentralized, but they respect your privacy and freedom of expression.

  • Me we: Alternative to Facebook
  • Voice: NFTs to empower digital artists
  • ProtonMail: alternative to Gmail

There is also Element Messenger based on the Matrix protocol that you can try.

I know there are probably a dozen other alternative social media platforms out there. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments.

If you had to choose one of the platforms from the list, which would you choose?

Share.

Comments are closed.