Unthink anti-Facebook site launches

Unthink all you know about social networking for a privacy-first social experience
Darren Allan

November 1, 2011

A new social networking site has launched into beta this past week, positioning itself as a rebel against Facebook and other big social players such as Google and Twitter.

Unthink is most definitely an underdog, of course, billing itself not as a social network, but a social revolution.

A revolution against the Big Brother-esque profiling and data collection that the likes of Facebook and Google use to turn a profit and offer their social services for free.

In fact, Unthink is targeting Facebook on every front – its confusing changes to privacy policy, opt-out instead of opt-in measures and constant redesigns and interface changes which anger many users.

Not that this is the first time a major anti-Facebook movement has been organised.

However, Diaspora has thus far struggled to make headway, now looking for further funding and still in the alpha stage after quite some development time.

We also had the official “Quit Facebook” day last June which saw 33,000 folks allegedly desert the network, a tiny drop in the ocean compared to its at the time 450 million users (which has now grown to over 800 million).

Facebook does seem pretty much unstoppable, but Unthink is at least not just urging folks to quit, but actually offering an interesting alternative which involves theoretically watertight privacy on its network, and easy migration from Zuckerberg’s site.

Crucially, it offers full ownership and user control over the content uploaded to the site, and the ability to differentiate which users see what content (so you can keep personal photos and work colleagues separate, for example).

The rebel site has been under development for the last three years, and is named because it represents a “fundamental unthinking” of what it means to be a social network site.

So how is this fundamental shift in vision going to finance itself, you may well be asking, if it isn’t flogging off or manipulating user data? It’s going to give users the choice of picking brands – albeit “forward thinking” companies – to sponsor their pages, or alternatively paying a small fee.

As well as the site being launched to beta, a mobile app is close to being finished and should be out in January.

Does Unthink stand much of a chance of success? It’s certainly a smart idea, but realistically the odds are thin.

It’s unlikely the average Facebook user will carry much social revolutionary fire in their belly, or much of an understanding of online privacy issues for that matter. But it may well establish itself as a niche home for a more savvy breed of net denizen, and perhaps that’s the idea.


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