As Facebook continues to come under fire for privacy overreach, political bias, and censorship, more people are asking: isn’t there an alternative?
Meet MeWe, the self-proclaimed “Anti-Facebook.” MeWe doesn’t sell your data. They don’t manipulate what news you see. And their basic membership level is free.
The app is the first to guarantee users a “Privacy Bill of Rights,” stating:
- You own your personal information & content. It is explicitly not ours.
- You never receive targeted third-party advertisements or targeted third-party content. We think that’s creepy.
- You have full control over your newsfeed and the order of how posts appear.
- We do not manipulate, filter, or change the order of your newsfeeds. Only you can do that.
- Permissions & privacy are your rights. You control them.
- You control who can access your content.
- You can opt out of our member directory to protect your privacy.
- We do not sell your personal information to anyone.
- Your face is your business. We do not use facial recognition technology.
- You have the right to delete your account and take your content with you at any time.
Why was MeWe created?
The creation of the platform involved the collaboration of some pretty big names – such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web. (Don’t believe us? It’s on the History channel, okay.) After tracking the rise of Facebook, MeWe founders all shared one thing in common: a growing concern with the surveillance capitalism model used by Facebook, Google, and countless other tech giants. “The MeWe Backstory” on the corporate site explains:
The big technology companies, you know who they are, had reverted to treating us as commodities. They somehow mistook people signing up to use their services as a welcome invitation to target, track, spy, and sell our information to advertisers and the government. All in all, it felt pretty creepy.
Will MeWe get any traction?
Right now, MeWe has a member base of 8 million, and aims to grow that base to 40 million by the end of this year.
That’s a longshot from Facebook’s 2.6 billion active monthly users. In an era when social platforms like Facebook have such enduring relevance that they’ve become a pillar of the digital landscape, it’s hard to imagine an alternative even coming close to achieving competitor status.
Yet as consumers become increasingly attuned to how social media giants are taking advantage of their data and manipulating their news feeds, it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility. Earlier this year, Google announced that it would phase-out third-party cookies on Chrome, its premier browser, within two years. If nothing else, alternatives like MeWe may raise awareness about social giants’ endemic privacy issues and catalyze internal change.