Over the past week or so, millions of people have migrated to Google, Facebook, and Twitter alternatives. It’s only a beginning, but hopefully the beginning of something big and permanent.
The Google alternative DuckDuckGo just surpassed 100 million daily searches. The Facebook alternative MeWe saw a recent surge of 2.5 million new users. Signal and Telegram are exploding in popularity; these are both messaging apps that offer a way to workaround Twitter and Facebook’s messaging features.
What does all this mean?
Well, first a little context is required. DuckDuckGo, which is great (I’ve been using to for years) reaching 100 million daily searches isn’t much compared to Google’s five billion — with a “B” — searches. But at least DuckDuckGo is growing. That’s a wonderful thing that will hopefully continue.
MeWe currently has 15.5 million members, compared to Facebook’s billions. Facebok alternatives have a loooong way to go.
On the messaging front, things are a little sexier. On Wednesday, Breitbart News reported:
The Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp has seen a major drop in new downloads following a change to the company’s terms of service with many users turning to privacy-focused alternatives like Signal and Telegram.
WhatsApp downloads fell by more than 2 million between January 5 and 12 compared to the previous week, falling to 10.6 million. In comparison, Signal saw 17.8 million downloads while Telegram saw 15.7 million during the same time period, according to data from the app analytics firm Sensor Tower.
Telegram claims it has reached 500 million users. Signal says a rush of “millions upon millions of new users” has them “adding new servers and extra capacity at a record pace every single day this week nonstop.”
That is all very good news.
There are all kinds of alternatives out there, and while we are a long way from breaking the monopolistic Apple/Google/Amazon/Facebook/Twitter control over our public square, millions of people are finally beginning to move elsewhere, and for two reasons:
The first is privacy. No one trusts Apple/Google/Amazon/Facebook/Twitter not to snoop, steal, share, and sell — nor should they.
Second is all the corporate fascism. Apple/Google/Amazon/Facebook/Twitter are blacklisting conservatives and conservative ideas. They’re all on a drunken rampage of McCarthyism, and people are tired of it.
With the promise of free speech, Apple/Google/Amazon/Facebook/Twitter suckered us into their monopoly, and then, as soon as they had that monopoly, they changed the rules to ban us, going so far as to blacklist no one less than the president of the United States.
My favorite part of all this new is reading about Signal operating off its own servers. Yes! Build your own. Duh.
The Twitter alternative Gab built its own and remains alive and kicking.
The Twitter alternative Parler used Amazon’s servers and was disappeared.
The more we build our own and atomize out to different services, the more we spread out — and by “we,” I mean anyone, right or left, who believes in free speech — the harder it will be to disappear us.
Someone already built an Apple/Google/Amazon/Facebook/Twitter, which means someone else can do the same. But even better would be dozens of Apple/Google/Amazon/Facebook/Twitters out there that are connected in some way through an app available on dozens and dozens of different operating systems.
The government is never going to solve this problem.
That means we have to do it on our own.
I don’t message, so I can’t speak to Telegram and Signal, and I hate social media, so I can’t speak to MeWe, but DuckDuckGo is great, every bit as effective at Google, but without the fascism and tracking and blacklisting and all that other un-American stuff.