Facebook may have finally met its match. By directly targeting the social media behemoth’s lack of messaging encryption, infamously opaque algorithms, and government and advertiser accessibility, Minds.com has earned the attention of privacy advocates, activists, and frustrated Facebook users—and has even garnered active support from Anonymous. By employing many similar features found on Facebook and other social media giants, Minds gives its users a familiar platform without the numerous privacy concerns plaguing the long-established sites.
Users will find the typical status updates, comments, and link-sharing as other social media, but Minds takes the government’s eyes out of the equation by encrypting private messages and using open-source code that any programmer can check. The platform uses a “reward’ system based on points to earn “views” for posts, so the more active you are, the more the network will promote your posts—-without hindrance from advertisers and profit models.
“For every mobile vote, comment, remind, swipe & upload you earn points which can be exchanged for views on posts of your choice. It’s a new web paradigm that gives everyone a voice,” explains the website.Minds.com founder Bill Ottman told Business Insider, “Our stance is the users deserve the control of social media in every sense.”
As an answer Facebook’s enigmatic algorithm that has contentiously manipulated users’ newsfeeds for years—essentially strangling organic post reach, even for wildly popular pages—Minds has vowed its formula for boosting posts will be transparent and available. Instead of using inexplicable formulas that rely on Orwellian features like how much time a user lurks on a post, the new platform logically bases its system on user interaction.
These features have been so appealing, the site had 60 million visitors before the official launch on Monday—the majority of whom listed an interest in “alternative media” as their primary reason to be there. In fact, the Facebook page Anonymous Art of Revolution—with a following of over one million users—boosted the Minds website when it announced a hackathon. According to the post:
Anonymous is initiating a call to hackers, designers, creators and programmers to unite worldwide. Let us collaborate on the code of Minds.com and build a top site that is truly of the people, by the people and for the people.
There have been many attempts to build alternatives to Facebook, but Minds.com—with its heavy emphasis on privacy and transparency—appears to be the most promising yet.