Landing : Athabascau University

Super-private social network launched to take on Facebook with support of Anonymous

The first question that emerges for a free, encrypted, ad-free, unsurveilled, intentionally private, celebrating anonymity, social networking site and mobile app like this is 'How does it make enough money to support itself'? The answer appears to be a freemium model - you pay to use the API more than a basic amount, for storage, and a premium service. I am a little concerned that the terms and conditions seem to give the site owners free access and perpetual rights to use any public content. I don't see why a creative commons licence could not have been applied, especially given the claimed open nature of the thing. None the less, this is a good step in the right direction, though I have to wonder whether it is really sustainable. A lot depends on its open source software: if content and identity can be distributed further and not limited to this one site, this could be a really interesting alternative to other systems based on a similar business model like Wordpress and Known.

The software on which it runs is allegedly open source and available via - unfortunately, though, almost all of it, apart from a mobile client, is disappointingly listed as 'coming soon'. Definitely one to watch, assuming the server software is to be open-sourced. It will be interesting to compare it with Elgg - the site itself seems slicker than most Elgg installations but .


  • Minhaz Topaz July 27, 2015 - 1:17pm

    But yes, we have seen sites like Hi5, friendstar, myspace dissolve within half a decade. Facebook is not showing such sites yet cause I hate to say it but it seems to big to fail. We have seen dispora come and go. Wordpress has buddypress which is only being used as intranet sites ( which is also provided by sitecore, sharepoint and lots of other enterprise solutions which organizations seem to love more. 

    In my opinion, this model is not sustainable as of yet. I heard china and japan has their own version of facebook and the kids there love it. sites like are doing awesome because of the massive number of users. I think there is another motivation of such sites is the national and governmental pressure. Asian countries seem to have a negative opinion about existing social sites that are run from and by North america. The lack of availability (government shutting down access) is a great motivations for the new generation to move to these home (country) brewed solutions which never goes down. I am speaking from experience of Bangladesh's attempt to shut down facebook ( multiple times by the order of government and no one wants to go thru proxy to access facebook to post a selfie for the world to see. looks great. I will check it out but I doubt this will go anywhere without a big backing from some company or community. Now I go find my password for diaspora to see if there are any funny cat videos there. 

  • Jon Dron July 27, 2015 - 5:19pm

    No centralized site based entirely on the dynamics of networks is too big to fail, thanks to network effects that can destroy as fast as they build. Sadly, though, Facebook are making all the 'right' decisions from a shareholder perspective including the appalling - but all the wrong ones from a moral perspective. Even if Facebook itself (the site) shrank fast, the company itself is highly unlikely to fail, because it has diversified, very wisely making its bigger acquisitions not too tightly linked to the flagship.

    I never had any faith in Diaspora and it was never a threat - it was very telling that Zuckerberg himself invested some small change in it. It was a cute and well publicized idea by a bunch of smart young things who had no idea what they were doing. It was vapourware from the start, and they massively underestimated the complexity of what they were doing, even at a technical level, let alone a social level. At the time there were already at least half a dozen more mature and well considered projects attempting very much the same thing, but none could build the critical mass to take on Facebook.Ben Werdmuller is well worth reading on such things - - and has done quite a bit to do something about it, first with Elgg (the software behind this site) now with Known. I suspect that something like may be the kind of thing that could work.

    Out of left field, I'd say that Wordpress might well be the biggest, albeit the least obvious, threat to Facebook. With nearly a quarter of all sites on the entire Web running the software it is already significantly bigger than Facebook in terms of traffic and, possibly, even in users. It has over 60% of the CMS market so anything it does has a huge impact. It has some quite smart linking already (everything from RSS to trackbacks to social site integration, with many plugins capable of doing far more) so it would only take the widespread implementation of a decent social sharing standard with smart identity management for it to perform much the same kind of role as a distributed social network. Just a thought.