Facebook has been in the news repeatedly over the years due to their continual privacy breaches and snafus. While still extremely popular, Facebook still suffers a bit of attrition every time a new social network appears that might cater to the same audience. Now we have Diaspora, an open alternative, who are looking to release their code to developers today, Thursday Sep 16, 2010.
The news of the Diaspora code release comes by way of the Bits blog on the New York Times,
Just a few months later, the Diaspora team is testing the site and trying to entice other programmers to get involved in the bold project. In a blog post on the company’s Web site, the founders announced some of the features that are currently in the works and gave developers access to download the appropriate code.
The first version of the site is extremely clean and simple and although some of the functions looks similar to Facebook, it has a distinctly simpler look and feel. Diaspora said the site currently enables people to upload of photos and albums, share their current status and photos privately and “in near real time with your friends” and “friend people across the Internet.”
Open Source projects have always benefited from a huge, curious community of developers spread across the world wondering and willing to give a piece of themselves to enhance and extend what already exists. By releasing their code, and keeping Diaspora an open project, this Facebook alternative will remain an alternative developed and designed by the very community it’s aimed at: the Internet. Although it will take a certain amount of direction and leadership on their part, Diaspora should be able to leverage the Internet developer community to really grow something powerful.
Furthermore, with the code in the wild, developers and websites will be able to run their own copies of the software. Enabling their own miniature Facebook-like communities that will compartmentalize the social networking experience—with enough interoperability between the different communities and powerful privacy rules, it would become difficult for large-scale privacy breaches to happen within Diaspora as they can so easily happen to Facebook.
Open source projects already allow both large and small companies a great deal of agility from blogging software to simple and complex CMS and forums—social community software seems like it should have only been on the horizon. And, as if true to their name, Facebook is still suffering a notable amount of user attrition among teens over Facebook’s apparent boringness; a multitude of up-and-coming hip-and-interesting communities running Diaspora will probably do a lot to draw even more of them away into a very real Internet social diaspora.
Even now, Diaspora is planning interoperability with Facebook. While people may continue to lave it, they may not need to escape it.
To see more news on Diaspora, see SiliconANGLE’s previous coverage from May when it was first getting noticed—back then they had raised only $100k through crowdsourcing, now they’ve exceeded $200k.
Let’s see how much further this goes.