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Facebook With Privacy - The Fridge and Diaspora

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David Silversmith
David Silversmith

Do you want to share some photos or some news with just part of the world?  Well then TheFridge or the soon to be released Diaspora may be your social media friend.

With 500 million members and a continuing push towards public sharing, Facebook is not the best place to share photos that might come back to haunt you.  This is where the The Fridge, an Internet startup, sees their market.  They  offer a Facebook-like experience but only for private groups.  Members can participate in familiar social network behavior — post status updates and photos, comment and share — but the data they post is viewable only within the groups that they’ve created or been invited to.

The Fridge is built around these private groups — if you’re in a group you can see everything everyone else in the group shares (you don’t ‘friend’ each individually). If you aren’t in a certain group, you will never even know that the group exists.  The communication within a group is one to many, whatever you share you share with the group.

Group creation is simple - it's not a hurdle that will limit participation. Simply sign up with an e-mail address, enter a group name, share the group’s private URL with friends and you’re on your way to networking with a small circle of  friends. The group creators have administrative control and they can boot people out of the group.  They can also disable the private invite link so as to ensure the invitation list remains limited to the group.  

That is really the big security/privacy risk.  With The Fridge you you can interact with your friends in a secure group setting, assuming your friends don’t invite any unwanted friends to join.  So while this is great for clubs, fraternities, volunteer committees - it certainly can be used in a clique fashion to keep some people out of a conversation.

In addition to The Fridge, Diaspora is shooting to be the open-source alternative to Facebook where individuals own their own data; where people are not required to surrender their privacy to a big business. Diaspora started with four college kids who were inspired to begin their project after hearing a talk by Eben Moglen, a law professor at Columbia University, who described the centralized social networks as “spying for free.”


Diaspora wants to be the "privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all, open source social network" and is striving for a public release in the new few months.

So far The Fridge has raised over 500,00 USD and Diaspora is raising money through using an online site, Kickstarter, that helps creative people find support. Only time will tell if either of these two privacy minded startups can truly challenge Facebook, the social media 800 pound gorilla.

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