Facebook is probably the most pervasive social media giant on the planet. It's hard to find anyone who's not on it. Facebook is also famous for squelching free speech. These are some alternatives.
MeWe bills itself as the "next-gen social network." They have no ad, no targeting, and no news-feed manipulation. The platform feels a lot like Facebook. It has easy-to-use features. It's got dedicated newsfeeds for close friends versus all contacts. They allow for private and open groups. They have both fan and business pages available. It features live voice and live video for around the world connections. Most of the features are free like Facebook, but some of the features are included in their premium service which is a few bucks a month. With that you get, according to their site:
Video Journals for Your Stories, Unlimited Voice + Video Calling, Unlimited Custom Emojis and Stickers, Unlimited Custom Themes, 100GB of MeWe Cloud Storage, and a Premium Profile Badge.
The feedback to us has been mostly positive. There may be a few things you'll miss from Facebook, but, unlike Facebook, when you share a post you share the message attached to the post of the person you're sharing it from. Facebook makes it extremely hard to do that anymore, if not impossible.
Gab looks very much like Facebook looked before they "upgraded" everything and, in the process, made it much more difficult to navigate. What we really like about Gab is the newsfeed over to the right of the page. It features breaking news from a wide variety of news sources including mainstreamers like NBC and the LA Times to conservative sites like The Gateway Pundit and Breitbart. It also features some obscure sites like CreativeDestructionMedia.com and 100PercentFedUp.com. The Washington Post whined that they had "welcomed" Q-Anon to their site, when in fact they welcome anyone and everyone, just like a real social media platform should.
Gab was founded by Andrew Torba and Ekrem Büyükkaya. It launched in beta on August 15, 2016 and opened to the general public on May 8, 2017. You won't find Gab in any app store that we're aware of because the site has been labeled Antisemitic. That seems to be code for any platform that allows free speech, even so-called hate speech.
As of this writing, Gab runs a little clunky. The page takes way too long to load up, and our posts don't show up. This is undoubtedly because of the major traffic jam the site is experiencing. After President Trump was banned from Twitter, the CEO, Andrew Torba, said they were gaining 10,000 new users per hour.
Media folks say it's an alternative to Twitter, but it really behaves nothing like Twitter. For starters, there doesn't seem to be a limit on the number of characters you can post. That, to us, is a dead giveaway that it's more of a viable alternative to Facebook than Twitter. Of course, we probably need to stop using those two platforms as our yardstick since we've left them behind. It's entirely possible that our new homes will become the standard-bearers for social media. If Gab can ever overcome its growing pains it has the potential to be just that.
No matter which alternative to Facebook you choose you're going to run the risk of being labeled a Nazi or at least a "far right-winger." The pushback from these big social media sites and their willing accomplices in the mainstream media are sometimes vicious. Bucking the social media monopolies is not going to be easy. But no revolt is.
Okay, let's get something out of the way before we even begin. We're sophisticated enough to know that you don't spell "parlor" with an "er." We're also cultured enough to know that the word is actually French for "speak," and you pronounce it "par-lay." That didn't stop people from calling it "par-lur." CEO John Matze waved the white flag on the pronunciation sometime back and now, himself, calls it "Par-lur," so you last hold-outs can drop the pretentious outrage.
Matze founded Parler in 2018 along with Jared Thomson and Rebekah Mercer. Naturally, sites like Wikipedia call it a site for "Donald Trump supporters, conservatives, conspiracy theorists, and right-wing extremists. Matze more calmly says he set out to recreate the town square on the Internet, but that doesn't sound nearly as menacing.
As of this writing, Parler is back up and running…sort of. After being "culture canceled" by Apple and Google, who booted it from the app stores despite being the #1 downloaded app, Parler managed to get the site back up, but Amazon is still locking them out of their data, so you can't do much with it. In a one-two punch, the app was dropped from iPhone and Android app stores, then Amazon cut off its servers and Parler was down for the count. They're in court with Amazon (you can get the latest on that in our News section) so we'll just have to wait and see.
As for the platform itself, it runs like a combo of Facebook and Twitter, but more like Twitter. It limits characters in posts like Twitter, although it's much more generous with the allotment. Honestly, the site is more difficult to navigate than Twitter. It takes some time getting used to "echoing" something rather than sharing it. Instead of liking—or even loving—a post, you can vote on it, up or down, with an arrow in whichever direction you please. We had to chuckle at an article on Mashable.com from November of 2020 when they whined, "it’s almost impossible to use it without encountering conservative political content." OMG! Not conservative content!
We found Parler not nearly as user-friendly as Twitter, but we may be in the minority. Before it went dark, Parler was outpacing MeWe in users, which is a head-scratcher given MeWe is more like Facebook, and Facebook far a Twitter. It all may be a moot point. Parler's having trouble finding other companies to host its site, if they lose against Amazon in court this may be the end of the line.
Amazon's decision to essentially put Parler out of business has invited a backlash from every freedom-loving American. Not only did AWS (Amazon Web Services) flip Parler's server switch off, they carry enough clout to where hardly anyone else was willing to step in and pick up the slack. The sad reality is people are now afraid of Amazon. The other sad reality is too many Americans have been programmed to believe they have to buy everything from Amazon.
This is actually the easiest transition, but probably the hardest to convince the general population. We've all become conditioned to believe they're the only ones who offer free shipping. Shipping on Amazon is not free, by the way. You pay for it through your Prime membership. What most people don't know is you get free shipping from Amazon on any purchase over $25 anyway. It may take a little longer to get to your door, but everyone gets it, whether or not they purchase Prime. With Amazon Flex drivers, you can have items delivered to your house the next day, even same day. You may not realize it, but you've had Flex all along. It's called going to the store and getting it yourself. We checked our purchases over the last year, and only a handful were under $25. The shipping on those items was minimal, far below the cost of a Prime membership.
People also need to understand that Amazon doesn't make anything. They're a conduit through which we buy stuff. Just the same as Walmart, Target, and your local retailer. The difference is there's not an Amazon retail store. At least not yet. We've been convinced that the convenience of Amazon is worth it. The truth is you can do almost the same thing with any other retailer that you can do with Amazon, except maybe watch movies and TV shows. (More on that below)
You can order products right now at most major retailers and either have them delivered or pick them up. And everything you can buy on Amazon you can buy somewhere else. It's that Prime membership that's been such a brilliant marketing strategy. We spend over $100 per year for the privilege of getting things shipped free, but as we already mentioned, that's only advantageous if you're only buying items that cost less than $25.
People have sent us sites like ShopToTheRight.com to check out. This site tries to steer conservatives to conservative-owned businesses, but it falls woefully short. A simple search found no such businesses in our area. If you're spending all your time trying to avoid people who don't vote like you it may be an endless task. Your best bet is to shop locally when you can and not worry about the owner's politics. That is unless they're making a big fuss about it. Then you can decide if you want to support their point of view or not. Most local retailers just want to do business and stay out of politics. The Big Tech Revolt is really only concerned with freedom. If a business is practicing true free enterprise then that should be enough. It's the stranglehold that Big Tech has on our lives that we're worried about.
Breaking the Amazon addiction is simply a matter of habit. We've been programmed to open our browsers and immediately head to Amazon. In many cases, you can purchase the items cheaper directly from the manufacturer. If they don't ship directly then they will surely have a list of retailers on their site.
The best option is to buy local whenever possible. Amazon is slowly but surely gobbling up market share, and once they're the only game in town they'll be able to name their own price. They've demonstrated their lack of respect for freedom of speech, and they will no doubt plow over anyone who gets in their way if left unchecked. Your Prime membership is feeding that. Financial experts tell us that Amazon would actually operate at a loss were it not for Prime. Canceling your prime membership is your most powerful tool in loosening their stranglehold.
There are so many alternatives to Amazon's streaming service. Netflix is the obvious front-runner. Their corporate culture is brutally honest. Netflix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings has something called The Keeper Test. If you go to your immediate boss and ask them, "If I wanted to leave, how hard would you fight to keep me?" and their answer is "not very hard," then it's time for you to hit the bricks. He apparently has bosses and their employees do this type of evaluation once a year. "Our culture memo says things like adequate performance gets a generous severance package," he told NPR. He's been criticized for his managerial style, but, as they say, nothing succeeds like success.
As far as content is concerned, Netflix has allowed its library to get a little stale, in our opinion. However, they've been spending literally billions on original programming. The Queen's Gambit miniseries, for example is excellent. They also gave us Tiger King, which was a COVID lockdown sensation. They spent $15 billion on original content in 2019. That's more than either Apple TV+ or Disney+. AllConnect.com did a side-by-side comparison of Netflix and Amazon Prime TV. Their bottom line is "it's no competition." Netflix wins hands down.
The difference between Hulu and services like Netflix and Amazon is you can stream live TV. DigitalTrends.com has a really good analysis of the differences between Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon. Hulu doesn't have the content that Amazon and Netflix do, but they're owned by Disney, so you might see some overlap from Disney+ in the future. Probably their best-known original show is The Handmaid's Tale. We think of Hulu as one of those "cut-the-cord" companies, but it's really much broader than that. In the context of what we're talking about here—leaving Amazon behind—they are certainly an alternative. They may not be the alternative. Which alternative to Amazon you go with is going to depend on your personal preferences and your budget.
There are far more than we outlined here. The problem with some of the bigger ones like Apple TV+ is you're jumping from the proverbial fire into the frying pan. If our goal is to gravitate away from companies that don't truly believe in free speech (or at least don't practice it) then we can't in good conscience steer you to Apple. On our front page we keep a running list of companies that squelch free speech. You may want to reference that before making your choice.
This is one of the more confusing tech issues. Smartphones run on operating systems. iPhones run on Apple's operating system. Android phones actually run on a modified version of the Linux operating system. This modified version is controlled by Google. Linux is another operating system, but this one is open source. That means the end user can modify the software, fix bugs themselves, etc. Android is open source to the extent that Google allows it. In other words, it's not really true open source. Like Apple, they can block your access to certain apps because you access them through the Google store. This is a good article on some things you need to know about Linux phones.
There are several Linux-based phones on the market. We have not tried any of them yet. Below we provide links to some of them. Feel free to explore their websites and see what you think. Please understand that our providing a link does not translate into an endorsement. As we say, we've not tried any of them. If you have, please let us know about your experience.
Something that's important to understand is we have been conditioned to believe that apps are the only way to access content on a website from our phones. They may be a more convenient way, but apps aren't the only way. Since Apple and Google block Gab.com, you can actually add it to your shortcuts on your iPhone. This will act just like an app. Since we don't yet have an app, let's walk you through how to do this using TheBigTechRevolt.com on your iPhone (we should have Android instructions soon, but you should have a shortcut function on your Android).
Click the 'Shortcuts' icon on your iPhone and click 'Create Shortcut.' Then click 'Add Action.' Once you're there, scroll to the right and click on 'Web.' This is where you can add any webpage you like. Go down under 'Safari' and click on 'Open URLs.' If you click beside where it says 'Open' you can enter thebigtechrevolt.com or any other website for which you want to create a shortcut. Once you've typed in the website, click 'Next' at the top right. There you can enter a shortcut name. Click 'Done' and and then one more 'Done' and you're done. Now anytime you want to access these sites just click on Shortcuts and there they are.
For those of us who are not very tech-savvy, wading into the Linux phone world can be scary. Will we be able to do the same things on the Linux phone that we can do on our phones now? Frankly, we don't know. We're in the process of lining up experts to address questions about the Linux phones on this website. Make sure you've subscribed to our email list and we'll keep you updated on this other important issues.
One of the most requested questions we get is what to do about Gmail. Gmail, of course, is Google. They have become so entrenched that's it's hard to find someone who doesn't have a Gmail account. Gmail accounts don't necessarily end in gmail.com. You can convert any email address to run through the Gmail system. It has a lot of different features, but many find it not at all user-friendly. That alone should send you searching for an alternative, but the fact that Google is reading your email (electronically and otherwise) and their search engine censors search results to suit their political agenda, you should be looking for a viable alternative. Not to mention they've colluded with other Big Tech corporations to try and put free speech sites like Parler out of business.
We want to say upfront that we haven't used any of these alternatives, so this is not an endorsement of their product. These do, however, come highly recommended. Something else you need to know is that most of these companies are not based in the United States. That can be of concern to some folks, but given that Apple, Google, and Amazon are based in the U.S. certainly doesn't mean that they respect your rights. These companies claim to do just that. Moving your email to another service can be seamless, but you need to make sure you have everything backed up in case something goes haywire. This is a good article on how to make the transition. They also recommend a couple of companies that are on our list.
This is probably the most recommended alternative we've gotten feedback on. It's based in Switzerland, which has positives and negatives. The negatives, of course, being that it's a foreign country and some people get a sense of not having total control. The positives are the Swiss privacy laws, probably some of the tightest in the world. They pride themselves on "encryption and user authentication protocols so rigorous even the creators can't read user emails." Another negative is its trouble integrating with desktop email clients.
This is another foreign company based in Germany. Tutanota is a combination of two Latin words that mean "secure message." This company was founded expressly to provide an alternative to Google. It's open source, which means no multinational corporation can suddenly swoop in and control it. You can use your own domain name and most of their services are free, funded by their premium subscription plans.
GMX is also based in Germany. It's free and advertising-supported email service. In fact, the front page is actually a news page, which one would assume is where you'll find the ads. You can register up to 10 GMX email addresses, with each email address offering 65 GB of storage space. That's enough space for about a half a million emails. Users have reported that it's a little clunky to use, but what do you want for free, your money back?
As we stated at the beginning, we've not used any of these services. At least, not yet. When we do we'll update this page. Gmail has a lot of bells and whistles. In fact, it has way too many for our taste. Navigating Gmail features can be downright maddening. They monitor your private emails. They censor content on their search engine, and they try to run any tech company that won't do the same out of business. No matter which email service you choose, it's time to make a change.
Yeah, we know. DuckDuckGo is kind of silly. What, like saying "Google" isn't? It's all in what you get used to. Nobody thinks twice now about saying "Google it." With DuckDuckGo, it's a little more difficult to make it into a verb. The website is Duck.com. Maybe, "Duck it?" Or perhaps, "If you don't know it, just Duck it." Sounds more like a crude insult, but maybe we'll get used to it. Duck doesn't collect or share any of your personal information. They don't target you with ads. You can—and should—make DuckDuckGo your default browser instead of Google. We've done numerous tests on search results and it's amazing the difference. It's clearly obvious that Google is steering you to the results they want you to see. Duck is simply giving you the most relevant results in descending order of relevancy. That's what a search engine is suppose to do.
If you're using Chrome (and we'll help you get off that in a post coming soon) then when you go to Duck.com there are multiple opportunities to click and change your default browser with a couple of clicks instead of searching through your settings to try and figure it out. What's a little creepy is after you've used Duck as your default, Google will pop up a message asking if you want to come back. Sort of like that cheating boyfriend or girlfriend who promises it was just a fling and you're really the only one for them. Too late, Google. We're dumping you once and for all.
It's pretty obvious that we're big on DuckDuckGo as an alternative to Google. There are certainly others out there. Just make sure you're not falling for an old Big Tech trick, which is to make you feel like you're escaping their abuse only to run into their arms by another name. Bing is owned by Microsoft. Dogpile simply searches results from Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Yahoo! is owned by Verizon. Yippy is actually powered by IBM Watson. Not that IBM Watson is necessarily bad. They claim Yippy "delivers fair search results based on balanced algorithms." That may be true. Just beware of who you use. Make sure they are who they say they are.
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