Alternatives to "BigTech" services

Big Tech Jan 18, 2021

With people deciding to leave Twitter, Facebook and other social services, some are turning to alternative sites and services.

Here are a few that I personally use:

Alternative to Twitter:

Mastodon – This is a decentralised Microblogging service that is on the Fediverse. It allows you to follow and interact with users that are on different servers (Instances). Think of it like emailing a Yahoo! user from a Gmail account.

You can join one of the thousands of instances that have open registration or you can set up your own server for a “Single User Instance” – Having one of your own means that you can set the rules for your community.

And with Mastodon having powerful tools for moderation, you can completely block domains from appearing on your instance.

Gab, which is a far-right micro-blogging service, runs on a forked version of Mastodon and a lot of instances have it blocked.

There are other micro-blogging services like Mastodon that run on ActivityPub (The tech that does the whole Federation bit) such as Plemora and GNUSocial (GNUSocial is the continuation of StatusNet which ran identi.ca back in the day)

Alternative to Facebook:

Diaspora* is a social media website similar to Facebook which launched back in 2010 with them launching their first ‘pod’  (Servers) they have been in active development since then with their last release being 6 months ago (from this post).

While they haven’t made as much ‘noise’ compared to Mastodon, they would still be considered the first kids on the block to be running a decentralised social network.

There is also MeWe, a newer social media site that opened up in 2012 and left Beta in 2015 and became popular with Hong Kong users in 2020. MeWe focuses on being a privacy-focused social media site. Unlike a lot of the other options in this list, it is NOT on the Fediverse, so the users on MeWe can only interact with members of MeWe.

Alternative to Instagram:

PixelFed started back in 2018 as an alternative to Instagram and got a lot of following from Mastodon users.

It runs on the same technology as Mastodon (ActivityPub) and much like Mastodon, you can run your own instance of it or just join pixelfed.social which is the largest instance of the service.

Alternative to WhatsApp/Facebook Messenger/Viber etc

There is a couple of options here that you can download, but most of them are well-known:

Some of these have different levels of privacy but all of the above have end-to-end encryption.

Alternative to YouTube:

I was alerted to this service a while back but had forgotten the link when creating this list. Odysee is a video-sharing site that is very similar to YouTube but it is on the Blockchain.

Alternative to Twitch:

(Added 10th October 2022)

Twitch has slowly been shooting itself in the foot with recent changes to payouts if you are a partner on their platform and multiple cases of inconsistent bans and/or restrictions. Glimesh is a new platform that was born from the ashes of Mixer (Mixer was bought by Microsoft and shutdown) and offers a transparent 60/40 split for their streamers and no advertisements on the platform.


If you know of alternatives, let me know on Twitter: @PadraigFahy

Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

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Padraig Fahy

A tech support guy by day and a gamer by night!