Open Source Social Networking Foundation Laid
Facebook was started by a university student and its main competition may someday come from another group of university students who want to launch Diaspora, billed as the anti-Facebook.
New York University students Daniel Grippi, Maxwell Salzberg, Ilya Zhitomirskiy and Raphael Sofaer comprise Team Diaspora and are planning to work this summer on a Facebook alternative, but first they needed to raise a cool $10,000 before their June 1 deadline. According to Mashable, that amount was reached within 12 days and has since passed the $100,000 mark thanks to donations accrued through Kickstarter, a fundraising platform.
The NYU team wants to build Diaspora to counter Facebook which they say is not protecting the privacy of its users. They are planning to make Diaspora more secure and personal than Facebook, giving users more control over what they want to remain private. Basically, users would create their own “seed” or personal web server where they would upload photos, videos and personal content within a larger network. Users would own their seed and exercise full control over it.
The New York Times reports that Team Diaspora launched their fundraising appeal on April 24 in hopes of having enough cash on hand to devote three to four months to develop their social networking platform. Their timing was perfect because Facebook has once again outraged privacy advocates by making changes to its site which critics say exploits users.
To date, more than 2500 people have contributed to the Diaspora project with one NYU professor confident that the team will follow through and build a robust Facebook alternative. The four students met in NYU’s computer lab and have been spending the lion’s share of their free time there. Like so many Facebook users, the NYU students are wary about giving up their personal information and believe that a viable option needs to be developed.
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