The likes of Facebook and Twitter have a new competitor, in the shape of a social network committed to privacy and transparency.
Minds.com has received support from the well-known online activist group Anonymous and promises to remain free and open source.
The platform will work similarly to other social networks, with users able to share posts with their followers. They can also vote on updates and post comments, but crucially, Minds distinguishes itself from other social networks through its approach to user privacy.
“Your privacy is important to us, and it is Minds’ policy to respect the privacy of our users regarding any information we may collect while operating our websites.”
The site lists a number of fundamental principles that it promises to stand by, including never asking for personal information unless it is absolutely necessary, not storing this information and encrypting all communications.
Other social networks like Facebook have been accused of handing personal data over to government authorities, particularly in the wake of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations. Research has shown that some members of the public no longer trust larger online companies with their personal information.
Minds will be hoping to capitalise on this feeling of distrust, but as the company will not harness user data to serve adverts, its revenue will have to come from other sources. Individuals can use Minds to launch social networks of their own and can pay monthly subscriptions to acquire more bandwidth and support.
Minds has been launched, albeit as an alpha release, online and via a mobile app. The platform is open source, so users are encouraged to help contribute to the site’s design and layout. Anonymous have already given its backing to the site, asking members to support open-source, encrypted networks in order to create a “top site of the people, by the people and for people.”