These days, our private information is up for grabs and going to the highest bidders. Collectors are targeting us with advertisements in our inboxes and social media accounts. Worse, websites like Facebook clearly affect lives on and off our computers and phones.
But if you’re tired of getting ads for home insurance or meal kits and having your information used against you, this platform will help you find “privacy-conscious” websites — so you can worry a little less about whose collecting your data.
Here to save you from your privacy nightmares, Switching Social offers alternatives to websites like Google, Facebook and Instagram. With each platform, you can find a number of different solutions and how they specialize in privacy-settings (some websites are encrypted, some are ad-free).
The alternatives are user-friendly, so you can easily make the switch to a new email or account without fumbling through technical directions (and if you do have questions, you can contact Switching Social’s creators who will help you transition).
Let’s talk about that elephant in the room: Facebook’s recent disclosure that attackers got their hands on access tokens for an unknown number of Facebook accounts is a big deal, since it’s the kind of hack that you, a happy Facebook user, could not prevent.
Switching Social has a “Bubbling under” page, too, so you can check out new privacy-conscious sites if you’re on the lookout for websites that don’t annoy you with ads or compromise your privacy.
Looking for an email that won’t come with targeted ads? Switching Social recommends ProtonMail, which is free and runs entirely on donations and subscriptions (so you won’t run into a single ad).
Worried Google Maps is tracking more than just your steps? OpenStreetMap is the Wikipedia of map sites: it’s a map resource anyone can edit and doesn’t track its users. Instead of Instagram, try out PixelFed, an open-source social network with zero ads (influencers, beware!).
Despite all the convenience and quality of Google’s sprawling ecosystem, some users are fed up with the fishy privacy policies the company has recently implemented in Gmail, Chrome, and other services. To its credit, Google has made good changes in response to user feedback, but that doesn’t diminish the company’s looming shadow over the internet at large.
If you’re ready to ditch Google, or even just reduce its presence in your digital life, this guide is here to help.
Switching to alternative social media platforms like PixelFed is tricky because no one you know is likely using them. It’s hard to compete with audiences and networks as large as those on Facebook and Twitter, so while privacy-conscious social networks are great in theory, they’re mostly useless for now.
Still, Switching Social encourages you to bring other friends on those websites, so hopefully, you won’t be alone for long.
Personalised ads — they aren’t just on your screens anymore. For the past few years, advertisers have been experimenting with ways to apply all that data they have about you to billboards and other IRL advertisements. Think about how creepy it is when Facebook knows too much about you.
Now imagine how it would feel if a giant flat-screen at the mall showed you that same information in giant text that other people probably aren’t looking at, but definitely could read if it caught their eye.
And if you’re wondering, no, Switching Social does not collect any data, cookies, or tracking information as you browse its site, so don’t worry just yet (though, can we ever trust anyone in this day and age?)