Software

Is There Really an Alternative to Facebook?

Facebook announces major change in ranking the public content based on surveys

With all the recent news about security breaches and fake news, more and more people are opting to leave Facebook. But as by far the biggest social media influencer, Facebook can be a tough thing to give up. If you do hop on the bandwagon and delete your FB account, what can you use to replace it? Is there truly a Facebook alternative? That’s what we’re here to find out…

The Simple Options

A fair few people think that deleting Facebook and still being prominent in the social media and communication world is easy. But what many people forget is that simply switching to Instagram and WhatsApp doesn’t solve any problems at all. Facebook owns both of these apps, so presumably, security concerns related to Facebook could well apply to both Instagram and WhatsApp. That’s not to say that there aren’t other options though…

Facebook fulfills quite a few different needs, and the bottom line here is that if you do choose to delete FB you’re probably not going to find just one app to replace it. There are, however, apps that will meet individual needs, so you’re going to have to mix and match.

The Newsfeed Need

One of Facebook’s biggest draws is the simplicity of that timeline, and there are some apps that have a similar layout. Twitter, for example, is a fair approximation of Facebook’s timeline. There’s also Nuzzel, a relatively new app that has a personal newsfeed. If you’re looking for a more general feed (rather than just personal stuff from your friends), then Digg could work, or even Flipboard (though the learning curve there is steep).

The Messaging Need

If you’re into Facebook Messenger but don’t want those security worries, then there’s really only one app that you’re going to be interested in and that’s Signal. The Signal is a messaging app in the exact same way that Messenger is, but it features end to end encryption giving you top end security. It also has some neat security features, like being able to set your messages to automatically delete after a certain amount of time. The Signal is awesome and totally secure, but don’t expect all the bells and whistles you get from Messenger, there are no stickers or moving emojis here (though there is a sync-able desktop version).

The Social Need

Facebook makes it pretty easy to find out what’s going on, where, and when, but there are tons of event-based apps out there. The real downside here is that you’re probably going to need more than one event app to fulfill all your social needs. Bandsintown is great for music lovers, Eventbrite and All Events in City both handle all kinds of festivals, theatre shows and more (though not always the same ones). Also, check out Gravy and Go Do. For the more personal kinds of events (like birthday parties and the like) you’re probably going to need to go back to the old-fashioned way of doing things or try linking friends together into group chats or group calendar event on Google Calendar.

All the Other Stuff…

But Facebook does so much more than just the above. If Facebook Marketplace was your jam, then check out Nextdoor which is designed to keep you up to date with stuff happening in your neighborhood and has a great buy/sell/free section. If you need to remember everyone’s birthday, then there’s a simple hack. Just go into Facebook (before you delete your account), head to Events (on the left), and scroll down. You should find an option to add events to your calendar (Google Calendar, Outlook or Apple), so you can just upload all your birthday info to your personal calendar.

Finally, one of the great things about Facebook is having all your friends and family in a group (or even in different groups). If you need a way of grouping people so that you can message a group or inform certain groups of certain things, then check out GroupMe.

Incidentally, there is one app that is promising to do all that Facebook did and more, and that’s Vero. You might want to consider this but there are a few caveats. Firstly, though Vero is currently free there is a planned subscription charge going into effect soon. Secondly, it’s nowhere near as popular as some of the other apps we’ve mentioned, including FB, which brings us to a major downside to all of this…

Yes, But…

The big downside to all of this is that none of these other apps are going to work particularly well for you if none of your friends and family are willing to join with you. Plus, of course, you’re going to be cluttering up your home screen with tons more apps. The decision to delete Facebook isn’t an easy one, and we’re not coming down on either side. But if you decide that deleting is too much trouble, then you can help make Facebook a little more secure by changing your privacy settings.

Making Facebook More Secure

We in no way guarantee that your FB info will be completely secure, but the data leaks currently in the news were all allowed by FB’s terms of service by default. If you do not want to allow your data to be used by FB, you need to change a few settings.

Go into FB, click the arrow at the top right then “settings.” On the sidebar at the left hit “apps,” then under the heading “Apps, Websites, and Plugins” hit “edit,” and then “disable platform.” Hit “apps” on the left sidebar again, and this time under the heading “Apps Others Use” hit “edit” turn off all the options that appear and hit “save.” All of this stops apps and other people using your data.

Again, we don’t guarantee that this makes your info totally safe, but it should help. And if replacing Facebook is just too nervewracking for you, then this is the way to go. If you do choose to delete FB, then you do have options, but so far, none of them provide all the same services in one convenient package as Facebook does…

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Rishabh Rajvanshi

Rishabh, with six years of experience in the newspaper industry, has co-founded The TeCake in 2013. Apart from writing and editing articles on Technology at The TeCake, he also contributes to other esteemed newspapers.

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