Web privacy issues have sparked a lot of concern lately and a team of four college students decided they could change something in the Social Network niche. Instead of giving advice and tips on how Facebook and Google could improve their privacy issues, they started to build an Open Source Social Network called Diaspora.
Their project started first on Kickstarter, with the group asking people to donate $10,000 for their work. They reached their goal in 12 days, but the big surprise came when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg decided to donate $190,000. In the end, the project raised $200,641.
At that time there was not a single line of code written and there was just a video posted on kickstart. (The group now includes Ilya Zhitomirskiy, Daniel Grippi, Maxwell Salzberg, Yosem Companys and Sarah Mei Co-founder Raphael Sofaerhas has returned to NYU but is still involved.)
What is Diaspora?
Diaspora is an open source social network that stores and shares your content with all of your friends. It’s different from other social networks(Facebook, Google+, MySpace, Hi5) because it uses GPG algorithm to encrypt and store pictures, videos, and more. According to the founders, “when you have a Diaspora seed of your own, you own your social graph, you have access to your information however you want, whenever you want, and you have full control of your online identity.”
Shortly after their money was raised, the team began to implement their ideas. They even published a pdf explaining how they ended up spending $200,641 between June 2010 and July 2011. Their expenses included corporate taxes, travel, server expenses and promotional expenses, and also their own salaries($28,000 each).
Will They Succeed?
Alpha testing began in November 2010. Now, 1 month before its official release, the social network has reached 100,000 users on its own Diaspora pod and hundreds of installations (pods) spread all over the world.