Alternatives to Big Tech - Presidential Censorship Edition

in #hive10 days ago (edited)

This guide to alternatives to Facebook, Google, Twitter etc is a major update of my August 2018 Guide on the topic.

List of Alternatives to Facebook, Google & Twitter

AKA Leaving The Matrix

In these days of Facebook, Google and Twitter's rampant censorship (including of The President of the United States), privacy breaches, anti-competitive attacks on competitors and making billions off other people's work without compensation, a lot of people are looking for alternatives for their online lives.

As CEO of JPB Liberty which is funding a class action against Facebook & Google's illegal cartel conduct. I had to find alternatives to Facebook & Google products for my personal and business online activities.

The bad news is that when you try to leave The Matrix, your realise how all pervasive and dangerous Facebook & Google are. Its not so easy to avoid their tentacles.

But the good news is that there ARE excellent alternatives. Many are much better, both technically and feature wise. All are much more secure and private and some will even pay you for your online activities.

Many of these are decentralised cryptocurrency based projects that can never be taken over, bought or shut down by Facebook, Google or anyone.

I've set out these alternatives below so you can try them and free yourself from The Matrix.

Email - ProtonMail

Email is the oldest but still one of the most essential online services and Gmail has dominated this space for years. This means they scan every email you send or receive and it adds to their big data picture of your life and the life of everyone around you.
Email is also generally insecure and subject to interception, phishing scams etc.

While there are many email alternatives, I've found that the best is the Swiss based ProtonMail.
It provides complete privacy and security using PGP based end-to-end encryption and digital signatures.
It makes encryption easy for anyone to use and has iPhone & Android Apps and integration with Windows & OSX mail applications.

They now have ProtonDrive and Proton Calendar - fully private and encrypted alternatives to the Google versions.
They also have an excellent VPN product.

I've been using ProtonMail for almost 3 years now and am very happy with it.

Web Browser - Brave

The second oldest and essential way we interact with the online world is via the web browser.
There are a range of options, but again Google has a dominant position with Chrome.
Browsers have a big problem with tracking, privacy loss, pop-up ads and other annoying ads that disturb and distract our web surfing experience. But websites need revenue and advertising has been the main way to get it.

How to solve these problem? - Enter Brave a browser which does an excellent job of blocking ads, trackers and all the other crap that tries to attach to us online while providing an alternative revenue model (the BAT cryptocurrency) for websites.

I've been happily using Brave for almost 3 years now and have had 1,878,243 trackers blocked and 7 Gb of ads blocked by Brave. I've also automatically made micropayments of BAT cryptocurrency to the websites I use the most.

Web Search - DuckDuckGo

The third oldest and essential way we interact with the online world is by using web search engines. Google completely dominates this space and with it the ability to control your information flows, track you and harvest your data, which they sell to advertisers.

I've been using the privacy focussed search engine DuckDuckGo for years now and have been very happy with it. They don't track you, follow you around with ads or store your personal information.

Changing search engines is the simplest thing of all. Just go to preferences / search in your browser and change from Google to DuckDuckGo.

Instant Messaging - Telegram and Signal

Instant messaging has become an essential form of communications over the past few years and the space is dominated by WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, and Facebook messaging.
Fortunately Telegram is a big competitor (525M users) to WhatsApp which is privacy focussed and promises to remain independent. Telegram also has a lot of groups that can allow you to follow people who have been banned by Big Tech.

Signal is the gold standard of privacy with the best encryption and is the go-to App for journalists in repressive regimes.

Both Telegram and Signal have all the functionality of WhatsApp and much more, including excellent encrypted voice and video calling functionality.

I find that you really need both to cover your entire contact list as some people are on one but not the other. With both of them you really won't miss the piece of spyware called WhatsApp.

Blogging, Video Sharing, Tweeting and more - Hive

Hive is a complete ecosystem of censorship resistant applications for content creation and sharing where you get paid for your content.
It is the Bitcoin of Content and Social Media and is based on a more advanced version of the same blockchain / cryptocurrency technology.
Content is permanently and immutably written to the blockchain which is secured on hundreds and soon thousands of independent computers around the world.
Like Bitcoin, it is not owned of controlled anyone.

But it is not a free-for-all for hate speech. Indeed it is the most civilised place on the internet - the only place where people on opposite sides of the political divide can have a civilised discussion.

This because users upvote and downvote content with a voting power which depends on how much financial stake they have in the platform. These votes are worth real money (HIVE cryptocurrency which is convertible to Bitcoin and national currencies).

People behave much better when there are real financial consequences of bad behaviour (and where their feed is not being manipulated to make them angry). Content moderation is achieved by downvoting bad content and upvoting good content with hundreds or thousands of intelligent humans having an input.

Hive Blogging -, and Leo Finance

You can post and view content on the Hive blockchain via many front-end interfaces but the two largest generalist ones are and Peakd. Leo Finance is the largest specialist front-end for finance related content.

It is important to understand that irrespective of which front-end you use, all content is posted to the blockchain and is readable on other front-ends. Specialist front ends filter out content that does not have their tag (eg #leofinance).

Hive Video Sharing- 3Speak

Video Sharing has replaced television as the main method we view video content.
Youtube, owned by Google, completely dominates this space and has been abusing its power by censoring and demonetising alternative views a lot lately.

3Speak is a decentralised version of YouTube where the content creator gets paid for their content and there is no middle man.
Your videos won't get deleted because they question the mainstream media and Big Tech narrative.

Twitter replacement - D.Buzz

D.Buzz is a recent addition to the Hive ecosystem that provides a forum for short "tweet" like messages.
It is not as popular as Parler, but it can't be shut down like Parler has been.

Games, Art and much more

Hive hosts the largest blockchain based game - Splinterlands and many others where you earn by playing and your in game assets are tradable on multiple markets and secured by the blockchain.

Hive hosts a fast growing market for digital art that can be uniquely owned using Non-Fungible-Tokens (or NFTs) you can check them out on NFT Showroom.

For ALL of the above applications you have a single human readable username and can login with a single click using Hive Keychain for Brave/Chrome or for Firefox without sending your password anywhere on the internet. Blockchain based sign-in is fundamentally more secure than traditional passwords.

The easiest way to JOIN HIVE is Hive On Board using this link.

While cutting Facebook, Google and Twitter out of your life and replacing them with the alternatives above isn't as simple as taking a red pill, it will change your life just as dramatically as in The Matrix, set you free and make you money.

Come join me and millions of others in bringing freedom back to the internet.

Please vote for my Hive witness. (KeyChain or HiveSigner)

Witness Vote using direct Hivesigner


Other notable Hive games with keychain login - (city builder) (brew and sell beer) (soccer team manager)
I know there are a few more. How's going?

Yes, there are games from many genres on Hive (no first person shooters yet).

eXode is coming along nicely.

@elindos has mostly finished the Evacuation phase and is adding lots of features all the time. Colonisation is coming soon - that's what I'm really looking forward to.

This is a good list and we believe that everyone should take steps to maintain their online privacy and security. VPNs are an important tool in this day and age, glad that you mentioned ProtonVPN briefly as well.

For anyone interested, @deepdives has a section on internet safety and security in this resources for researchers post which is also pinned to the community page.

We would also highly recommend the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) - Surveillance and Self Defense guidelines which you can access on their website.

Excellent guide. I've left all mainstream media and social networks behind already.
Well, other than Google that is. Having a Google account is just so incredibly convenient it's just hard to let go, even though I know I should.

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Yes, I've still yet to completely purge gmail.
But ProtonMail does have an automated tool for shifting your gmail folders etc across.

I just haven't had time to use it yet.

Good on you. So many people's accounts have a Google email account associated with it. What happens to those accounts when Google purges them?

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Good point. I am in the process of finally removing the last few gmail logins from anything I care about.

I've carefully avoided automated Google logins and haven't had a Facebook account for many years.

If you are logged into Google they are tracking EVERYTHING you do.

I haven't come across Proton Mail, that sounds really cool and plays into my science background about atoms 😁

But yeah, fb is going to be first thing I get rid of on social media, I barely post, I replaced my music page with my Hive blog and it's nice not seeing adverts popping up on something that I just saw on a different website! I already use Brave, it's saved a lot of data!

Not sure about telegram, I did have it but deleted it as no one I knew was on there so just another app that took up space on my phone! Going to have to stick it out on WhatsApp for the time being!

Great info and thanks for sharing!

Try Telegram again and you'll find a lot more people you know.

That's an interesting list you've put together. I find myself using many of these apps, but the various products only partially meet the requirements I've built up based on their competitors. I'm very happy with Brave and Protonmail, though in the end I'm not so sure about Protonmail to what extent I can trust them. It's also been a while since I had looked into it. Either way, I guess it's an upgrade when I compare it to the service I was using before.

I have been using DuckDuckGo conditionally for 2 years now. There are instances when I am quite satisfied with the search engine, however, there are also some instances when I search in vain and end up having to use google before I get to my destination.

As for social networks, I'm not so optimistic yet. This is all still in the early stages and doesn't necessarily offer the added value I would like to gain from a network yet. For the crypto area quite alright, if you also deal with other sources. For topics outside of this area, however, only very moderate to use. That can change, of course, when time brings new users.

In terms of gaming, the whole thing doesn't look so rosy yet. As an old gamer, I don't think it's an alternative yet. Even Splinterlands, which is probably one of the most complex games here, is not comparable to modern games in my opinion and is more of a throwback to 2010. But even here, a lot is still in its infancy, so you can wait with anticipation for the development.

All in all, I would say that the alternative can't keep up with the top dog yet, but a development in this direction would be absolutely welcome.

P.S. Nobody around me uses telegram, so I did not have any use for it. Same with signal.

Take another look at both Telegram and Signal. You'll find a lot more people you know using it than 6 months ago, or even a week ago.
My Signal and Telegram are going wild with new contacts joining since Trump was censored.
Signal is the #1 App on the App Stores.

Here in the country, people tend to be slow on the uptake when it comes to stories like this. Roughly speaking, I wouldn't even reach 10% of my contacts via said applications. But I still have hope that things will change.

This is a nice extensive writeup.

Unless it's doing it by default now (it wasn't when I last checked a hundred million years ago) you need to specifically enable to eend to end encryption for Telegram per chat.

Nice to see options now too, I remember when I was starting to bail out (haven't completely bailed out yet, keep having to enable Google scripts on various websites including peakd so they actually run >_<) and with what I was doing at the time and the options available I ended up rolling my own mailserver (that was hairy x_x).

Yes, Telegram has written extensively about the trade-off between end-server-end encryption and end-end encryption. The former is more convenient and allows conversations to continue across multiple devices. The later more secure.

They opted to provide both options with the former the default.

Awesome article. However, I disagree that hive is an alternative to video sharing and tweeting. Hive can't support 500k posts a day. I hope we will scale to that level one day. @blocktrades working hard on that end.

There have been huge improvement made in Hive's efficiency so that it is ready to handle 500k post a day scale and more.

Hive can probably handle 500k posts a day right now and could definitely handle it if there were more people running API nodes.

@blocktrades have said that their API nodes can handle 12x current traffic and that each API node running on a basic setup of 4/8 core recent CPU, 64 Gb RAM and 2Tb NVME can handle ALL of Hive's current traffic.

According to the latest Hive statistics there were 8500 posts and comments a day.
If you multiply this out by existing API node capacity. (12x for blocktrades, 4x for @anyx (who is running a very powerful node) and @privex (running multiple API nodes) you are looking at about 30 x 8500 post/day = 255k posts per day.

Taking into account that a substantial proportion of current Hive transactions are @splinterlands custom JSONs, its quite likely that Hive could handle 500k posts a day right now.

Scaling just requires more people to run API nodes and the load to be spread amoungst them.
That is the beauty of decentralisation.

Stunning content, a great awareness for the hive blockchain. Sometimes I forget how huge hive really is.

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Thanks. Yes, the Hive ecosystem is large and growing. Hard to keep track of it all.

@apshamilton, Hopefully this Blog will spread it's Voice because Centralised Suppression is crossing lines. Stay blessed.

Check, check, check, check... 🤠

Hola es muy instructivo e interesante tu post. gracias por compartir.

I recommend:

Search Engine

Email: (encrypted, free, and has more features than Protonmail for free)

Web browser:

Social media: (uncensored and even VISA tried to shut them down)

I am doing all of this for quite a while now - except for the email. I urgently need to change that but I was intimidated of changing all my accounts on pretty much every website to the new email. What is your experience with this process?

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Excellent list. I have tried all of them except Signal. I'm already satisfied with what Telegram offers and don't see strogn enough reason to get onboard another messenger app with less features which I wil have a hard time gettign my friends on board. is another good Google alternative.

As for games @risingstargame is a one I'm playing daily on HIVE.

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Just changed to DuckDuckGo, thanks for that 😁

Can people that don't have hive read this article ?
Would like to send it to a few friends.

Yes. Just send them the link.
You only need to be on Hive to vote, comment etc.