Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Some social network users give up Facebook, form

Cross-posted at the Washington Examiner....

Remember when MySpace was the social network giant less than a decade ago, gulping up new users as it grew to include a huge following?

After some decisions by MySpace that may have caused it to fall behind technologically, amid concern from some consumers about personal privacy, along came Mark Zuckerberg who answered the need and came up with Facebook.  Offering a layer of privacy from strangers' peering eyes, it became a hit with parents concerned about their children's safety and then, amazingly, became a hit with the parents themselves.  Facebook was the new darling of social media and exploded as tens of millions signed up.

But recent changes at Facebook have led to grumblings from some who accuse it of dictator-like tactics and squashing freedom of speech.  Basically, telling the social network giant to take a hike, the new kids in town came up with their own version of Facebook known as

Touted as the conservative alternative, has 14,000 members.  Co-founder Kellen Giuda explained in Thursday's Daily Caller why he felt the need for an alternative to Facebook:
In February 2009, Alex Zablocki and I used Facebook to organize the New York City Tea Party, one of the first Tea Party protests in the country. Several thousand people joined our Facebook group, which we used to organize our first Tea Party protest. Hundreds of people showed up, we passed around a bullhorn, and we officially became “Tea Party organizers.” Without Facebook our rally would have most likely attracted about 20 people. Facebook was powerful and we knew it. Our next Tea Party rally, also organized through Facebook, brought 12,000 people to City Hall in Lower Manhattan. A social movement had begun.
Since that time, Giuda and others have seen changes from what they consider to be a liberal-leaning organization that they fear will lead to more censorship.  Giuda noted:
It is increasingly apparent that Facebook does not want people to use its platform for political organizing, and the reason seems to have something to do with the success of Tea Partiers and Middle Easterners in utilizing Facebook for their causes.
Giuda and co-founder, IT developer Jonathan Cousar, hope will fill that void and provide a voice for political opinion without oversight.  Under the banner, "Passing the torch of freedom to a new generation," it offers forums, blogs, documents, videos, audio, podcasts, polls, groups, chat sessions, and an events calendar.

Currently in the middle of a membership drive to reach 15,000, the site gained 200 new users overnight as its members grew from 14,200 to a little over 14,400.  With Facebook's membership currently around 800 million worldwide, has a way to go before putting a dent in the social network giant's following.

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