Recently, Facebook disclosed a security flaw which had allowed hackers to access information from over 50 million accounts. This left the world’s largest social media platform vulnerable to losing millions of users who no longer trusted it.
Earlier incidents, such as the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, had already rattled users. A survey conducted by Business Insider following the event found that 81% of Facebook users had little to no confidence in the company protecting their data and privacy.
Facebook isn’t the only social media platform under pressure this year, as Twitter admitted that over 50,000 Russia-linked accounts had used the site to post material about the 2016 US election. All eyes are now closely monitoring both platforms to see how they improve security and prevent political meddling.
This controversy begs the question: are there alternatives available to quench our thirst for social media?
What are the alternatives?
The social platform Diaspora boasts similar features to Facebook and Twitter, as it lets you share updates, add your friends, follow hashtags and message other users. The main difference between Diaspora and other mainstream sites is that it swears to never sell or share user information, so when you create an account you aren’t required to sign over data rights.
In light of WhatsApp’s recent introduction of targeted ads, those in search of a replacement for the messaging app may be tempted to move across to Telegram. The platform is totally ad-free, messages are heavily encrypted for security, and you can even store media in the cloud.
If you’ve got more of a creative eye and lean towards image-lead platforms, then an app like VSCO could do the trick. VSCO offers a slightly different experience to Instagram, with users sharing more professional images compared to the selfies and food pictures on Instagram.
These platforms certainly have some way to go before they challenge the thrones of reigning social media giants, but it’s interesting to see such platforms emerging.
Being part of a large online community has so many positives. It’s a great way of keeping in touch with friends and family, and it’s also a highly effective marketing and business growth tool, connecting you directly with target audiences. However, security failures are serious downsides.
Such challenges are part and parcel of a new digital age, and this is an opportunity for social media giants to learn and adapt. But there are other options available, and it will be interesting to see new platforms emerging and developing in the years to come.