There are some social networks I use and there are some I don’t use, for reasons. Some social networks are very good core but they don’t suit the standards I believe an online social networking service should have.

For example, I believe Twitter has a brilliant idea behind it but I don’t use it, because there are more factors than the idea behind the network that matters when we are considering joining a social network.

Social networks
Social networks well being (image is courtesy of Facebook)

As I said, I have some factors and standards that I should see and have when I’m joining a social network.

These are some factors and standards I check before joining a social network. Of course some social networks clearly define their purpose so a factor can be less strict for some networks than others. For example, if a social network focused on computing deletes my post about social injustice that doesn’t relate to computers, I wouldn’t accuse them of censorship as the guidelines of that network clearly states that it’s a social network about computing.

While if a general-purpose social network deletes such post, that violates my standards.

Standards

Privacy

A social network should be privacy-focused, I mean exactly focused. I expect “privacy” to be one of the key factors the creators of that social network have in mind.

Of course majority of social networks (if not all) are generally created to provide ability of public posting to people so the concept of privacy in social networks may be different with, for example, messengers.

While a messenger is expected to keep all messages very private, a social network can’t encrypt public postings as it would be ridiculous. However, privacy is still a key factor.

Data mining, keeping personal logs, asking for identifiable information, keeping records of people, not protecting provided information by users, and of course handing over data to third-parties are some stuff that should be considered when joining a social network.

Whether the social network protects your privacy or not is an important factor in considering choices of platforms.

Freedom

Freedom comes in two ways when we talk about digital social networks. Freedom of expression and belief, and freedom of software.

I consider both freedoms I mentioned very important. Freedom of software makes sure my digital rights are respected and freedom of expression/belief makes sure I don’t get oppressed because of my belief.

Well, network services aren’t free or nonfree; They raise other issues (what is software libre?). However, a social network that has its software released under a libre license conveys the feeling that it cares about its users. Also, it allows/has the ability of users contributing to the network.

Freedom of expression is also very important. As I said, some social networks clearly define their purpose so I won’t blame some stuff like my irrelevant post being deleted. However, if a social network is focused on computing and the moderator deletes my post about Emacs because that moderator like Vi, I won’t tolerate it.

Or if a social network is focused on politics and they let a post about anarchism stay and they delete a post about conservatism, because they simply don’t agree or like it, then I have a problem with that.

Censorship

Censorship is basically the suppression of information. Whether it’s speech, communication, or other kind of formats and mediums. A social network that censors information, for any purpose, is not a good social network.

Censorship is different with moderation. Deletion of a irrelevant post is not censorship, however the deletion of criticism about a relevant specific matter is censorship.

For example, deletion of a post about suppressing Uighurs in a sport car social network may not be censorship, even if it’s in China, but deletion of that post in general-purpose social network, such as Facebook, is censorship.

I can’t tolerate censorship in social networks, whether it happens to me or other people. If someone is getting censored then I can be censored too. Censorship damages people and it should not happen for any reason. The flow of information should always be/remain free.

Respect

A social network should treat its users with respect. Respect comes in different formats. Respecting users’ privacy, freedom, humanity, ideas, ideologies, intelligent, and trust.

A social network that goes behind users and violates users’ trust or any other base of respect, should not be used. A social network that promises privacy and sells people’s data is disrespecting its users.

A social network that controls what people see or not see is disrespecting its users. A social network that has discrimination is not worthy of out trust and use as it’s disrespecting users.

People should be in control of the network they create in social networking platforms and should be treated with respect, as I mentioned.

Moderation

I believe a social network should not be left. A social network should always be in active moderation. People choose to be active in a social network based on the purpose of that social network and one aspect of respecting users is to provide them a proper moderation.

If a social network is about movies, people expect to see topics on movies and other irrelevant topics be deleted. Or, people expect an action when they are targeted with hate or personal threat, etc.

Moderation is an important part of a social network. A social network without moderation would be disaster, a pain.

Also, moderation should be proper and professional. Moderators should follow the guidelines of that social network, not their personal interests. A social network with a improper moderation can be more disastrous than a social network without moderation at all.

Some specific social networks I don’t use

This is not limited to these items. These ones are only some of them and some of the reasons, not all social networks I don’t use.

Facebook

Facebook disregards your privacy by tracking, recording, and selling as much of your data as it can get. The site’s user “privacy” settings are anti-privacy by default. Regardless of privacy, I believe Facebook is an evil company.

In summary, I believe using Facebook is wrong because

Twitter

My main problem with Twitter is privacy and censorship. I believe Twitter is less evil than Facebook but using Twitter is still wrong.

In summary, I believe using Twitter is wrong because

  • Twitter violates people’s privacy. [link, link]
  • Twitter is involved in censorship. [link]

LinkedIn

LinkedIn (owned by Microsoft) is a social network focused on professionals and work/job. However, they still managed to mess things up and violate what I believe basic standards of a social network.

In summary, I believe using LinkedIn is wrong because

  • LinkedIn discriminates/works against people. [link, link]
  • LinkedIn is involved in censorship. [link]
  • LinkedIn violates people’s privacy. [link]

Instagram

Using Instagram requires installing a proprietary app. Using Instagram with its webapp requires running nonfree JavaScript. Also, Instagram continuously violates users’ privacy. [link, link]

Instagram doesn’t respect users. It limits users’ usage to what it wants and the company (also its parent, Facebook) heavily processes users’ activity data and collects personal information.

6 thoughts on “Social networks I don’t use

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