Diaspora Fully Funded & Then Some


6500 contributors fund budding project

Last month, we shared news about Diaspora, the under development Facebook alternative platform. As the budding innovation of four New York University students, Team Diaspora had sought $10,000 in private funding to help launch the program this September.

They beat that goal handily, raising $200,641.84 instead.

Thanks to the Kickstarter fundraising tool and their story appearing in The New York Times, Mashable, BBC and elsewhere, Dan Grippi, Max Salzberg, Raphael Sofaer, and Ilya Zhitomirsky are doing their work this summer without financial worry. And that’s good news for people wanting an alternative to the Facebook juggernaut with its near 500 million users.

Facebook Follies

Perhaps the sole reason for Diaspora is anger toward Facebook, which has done everything over the past many months to cause worry for people who value their privacy and want full control over their contributions to the site. Security breaches, a lack of opt-in features when certain sharing tools have been added or changed, and the aloofness of Facebook management in response to user angst has worried some.

Diaspora promises to deliver a different package for users, with each participant possessing their own seed containing videos, photos and articles. That seed will be shared via Diaspora, with users having full control over who sees their information and how it is shared. At any time, Diaspora users will be able to remove their seed with no traces of it left behind. With Facebook, your information (or at least part of it) stays behind permanently.

Project Diaspora

So, where is the project at this moment? It appears to be coming along nicely. On the Diaspora site the team shares, “We already have a rudimentary prototype of Diaspora running on our machines, and are working like mad to make it all we can be. Our current implementations include GPG encryption, scraping Twitter and Flickr, awesome design aesthetics, and the initial stages of connection infrastructure (“friending” other Diaspora instances).”

By September we’ll have access to the first version of Diaspora with an easier to set up very public version emerging soon thereafter.

Zuckerberg Contributes

And what does Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg think about Diaspora? According to a May 28, 2010, report in Wired, he made a personal donation to the Diaspora project, though that amount was not made known. Don’t forget: Zuckerberg wants to change the world, so perhaps he realizes that Facebook won’t be doing that alone. Besides, he thinks Diaspora is a cool idea. Go figure.

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