Frequently Asked Questions

 

CAN I REQUEST OR SUGGEST AN ALTERNATIVE?

Yes, of course!

You can contact switching.social through the about this site page.

 

CAN I QUOTE SWITCHING.SOCIAL’S TEXT ON MY OWN SITE? CAN I TRANSLATE SWITCHING SOCIAL INTO ANOTHER LANGUAGE?

Yes, the text on switching.social is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike 4.0 Licence. Please remember to link back to switching.social if you use content from this site, and to include a link to this licence.

 

DO YOU HAVE A PATREON, LIBERAPAY OR OTHER DONATION SERVICE?

No, but if you like the site you might consider buying the Switching Social Handbook. It’s a DRM-free ePub file so it should work on most major devices and eReaders.

 

HOW DO YOU DEFINE “PRIVACY-CONSCIOUS” AND “ETHICAL”?

The idea of this site is to provide alternatives that have better privacy but are as easy to use as whatever they replace. These are referred to on this site as “privacy-conscious”.

There are usually other alternatives that provide a higher level of privacy but require technical knowledge that most people don’t have. These aren’t listed in the main part of the site, though you may find some of them in the Advanced Users and Bubbling Under sections.

The word “ethical” is used in many different ways in modern English. On this site it’s used to mean services and apps that do significantly less harm to people’s privacy, because this site regards user privacy as morally good.

None of the alternatives listed are perfect, but they are better options.

 

WON’T THESE ALTERNATIVES JUST END UP BEING BOUGHT BY BIG COMPANIES?

In most cases, no, that cannot happen.

Most of the alternatives listed on here are technologically and legally structured in a way that means they cannot be bought or sold.

The social networks listed are federated, which means there is no single site to buy, just thousands of independent sites linked together. Even if a particular site is sold, its users can move to another independent site on the same network. It would be virtually impossible for anyone to take control of the network as a whole.

On top of all this, the software used is released under perpetual free open licences that make it legally impossible for it to be purchased.

 

WHY ISN’T BRAVE LISTED IN THE BROWSER ALTERNATIVES?

Brave is a commercial company funded by venture capital and its business model is built around advertising. They block ads on sites you browse, and replace them with their own ads. Other companies that have combined VC money with online ad-based business models have always ended up invading people’s privacy, sooner or later.

Also, Peter Thiel (the head of Palantir and a member of Facebook’s board of directors) is a major investor in Brave.

We do NOT recommend using Brave.

 

WHY ISN’T MAPS.ME LISTED IN THE GOOGLE MAPS ALTERNATIVES?

The Maps.me site was bought by Russian tech giant Mail.Ru in 2014, and nowadays it promotes an app contains privacy-invading trackers and advertisements.

 

WHY ISN’T MATRIX / RIOT LISTED IN THE MESSENGER ALTERNATIVES?

It’s listed in the “Alternatives to Slack” section.

 

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