11 Decentralized, P2P and Open Source Alternatives to Mainstream Social Media Platforms Like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Reddit

Tired of Big Tech prying on your data and invading your privacy? Here are some open source, decentralized alternate social platforms.
Warp Terminal

You probably know that Facebook was under fire for potentially sharing user data from its ‘end-to-end encrypted’ chat service WhatsApp.

The controversial privacy policy change in 2021 made countless people switch to WhatsApp alternatives.

Privacy-cautious people had seen it coming a long time ago. After all, Facebook paid $19 billion to buy a mobile app like WhatsApp that hardly made any money then. Now, it’s time for Facebook to get a return on its $19 billion investment. So, they probably plan to share your data with advertisers so that you get more personalized (or invasive) ads.

If you are fed up with the “my way or the highway” attitude of big tech like Facebook, Google, and Twitter (Now known as X), perhaps you may try some alternative social media platforms.

These alternative social platforms are open source, use a decentralized approach with P2P or Blockchain technologies, and you may be able to self-host some of them.

1984 Quote
Image Credit: Datonel on DeviantArt
I’ll be honest with you here. These alternative platforms may not give you the same kind of experience you are accustomed to, but these platforms would not infringe on your privacy and freedom of speech. That’s the trade-off.

And the list is in no particular order of ranking.

1. Minds

a screenshot of the explore tab of minds

Alternative toFacebook and Twitter (Now known as X)
Features: Open-Source codebase, Blockchain

You can post videos, blogs, images, and even set statuses on Minds. You can also securely message and video chat with groups or friends. Trending feeds and hashtags allow you to discover articles of your interest.

That’s not it. You also have the option to earn tokens for your contributions. These tokens can be used to upgrade your channel. Creators can receive direct payments from fans in USD, Bitcoin, and Ether.

2. Aether

Aether Reddit Alternative

Alternative to: Reddit
FeaturesOpen Source, P2P

Aether is an open-source, P2P platform for self-governing communities with auditable moderation and mod elections.

The content on Aether is ephemeral in nature, and it is kept only for six months by default unless someone saves it. Since it is P2P, there are no centralized servers.

An exciting feature of Aether is its democratic communities. Communities elect mods and can impeach them by votes.

3. Mastodon

a screenshot of the itsfoss profile on mastodon

Alternative toTwitter
FeaturesOpen Source, Decentralized, ActivityPub

Mastodon is already pretty popular among FOSS enthusiasts. You can also follow us on Mastodon if you haven't already.

Mastodon isn’t a single website like Twitter, it’s a network of thousands of communities operated by different organizations and individuals that provide a seamless social media experience. Also known as the “Fediverse”.

You can host your Mastodon instance and connect it with other Mastodon instances or join one of the existing Mastodon instances.

Suggested Read 📖

Twitter Quitter? 7 Best Mastodon Instances You Can Join
Unlike Twitter, there is no single Mastodon website. You have to join one of the ‘instances’ and here are the best ones you can rely on.

4. Steemit

steemit website

Alternative toTwitter/Medium
FeaturesOpen Source, Decentralized

A blockchain-powered microblogging platform. It is an open-source project that rewards its users with tokens if they contribute to the platform with posts and interactions.

You can explore its FAQ section to know how it works and what else you can do with it.

5. Pixelfed


Alternative toInstagram
FeaturesDecentralized, Open-Source, ActivityPub

Pixelfed utilizes the same underlying open protocol used by Mastodon, i.e., ActivityPub.

So, you can interact with Mastodon instances through Pixelfed as well. I haven’t tried it yet, but theoretically, you should be able to do that. You should find several active Pixelfed instances to sign up.

Pixelfed is a simple alternative to Instagram if you want control over your data and privacy. You get to control the privacy of your images without any advertisements on the platform.

You get the same basics of a photo-sharing platform. However, you do not have an algorithm powering the timeline; it follows a chronological order without collecting any of your data for a personalized experience.

Suggested Read 📖

12 Simple Tools to Protect Your Privacy
Quick ways to enhance online privacy? Use these simple tools to take control of your data easily.

6. Peertube

a screenshot showing peertube federation multiplicity

Alternative toYouTube
Features: Decentralized, P2P, ActivityPub

Developed by French company Framasoft, PeerTube is a decentralized video streaming platform. PeerTube instances can use a federation of interconnected hosting providers to share bandwidth among them.

PeerTube aims to resist corporate monopoly. It does not rely on ads and does not track you. Do keep in mind that your IP address is not anonymous here.

There are various instances of PeerTube available where you can host your videos or host them yourself. Some instances may charge money, while many are free.

7. Lemmy

a screenshot of the lemmy.world lemmy instance

Alternative toReddit
FeaturesOpen Source, Decentralized

Lemmy is a neat alternative to Reddit that claims to be a link aggregator and forum for the Fediverse. It allows you to have a familiar Reddit-like experience and leverages modern tech such as Rust, Actix, Diesel and more.

Its decentralized and self-hostable nature means that anyone can create a community platform from scratch, with the freedom to do anything with it.

Though, there are plenty of existing Lemmy instances that you could join too.

8. diaspora*

a screenshot of the diaspora* website

Alternative toFacebook
FeaturesDecentralized, Open Source
Self-host: Yes

Diaspora was one of the earliest decentralized social networks. This was back in 2010, and Diaspora was touted as a Facebook alternative. It did get some deserving limelight in its initial years, but it got confined to only a handful of niche members.

Similar to Mastodon, Diaspora is composed of pods. You can register with a pod or host your pod. Big Tech doesn’t own your data; you do.

9. DTube

a screenshot of dtube home page

Alternative toYouTube
FeaturesDecentralized, Blockchain

DTube is a blockchain-based decentralized YouTube clone, similar to Steemit. I use the word YouTube clone because the interface is far too similar to YouTube.

Like most other blockchain-based social networks, DTube is governed by DTube Coins (DTC), which the creator earns when someone watches or interacts with their content. The coins can be used to promote the content or cashed out from partner crypto exchanges.

10. Signal

a screenshot of the signal webpage banner

Alternative toWhatsApp, Facebook Messenger
Features: Open Source

Unlike the metadata exposed with the end-to-end encrypted chats in WhatsApp, Signal doesn’t track you, share your data or invade your privacy.

Signal rose to fame when Edward Snowden endorsed it. It got even more known when Elon Musk tweeted about it after WhatsApp’s controversial privacy policy change about sharing user data with Facebook.

Signal uses its open-source Signal protocol to give you end-to-end encrypted messages and calls.

11. Element

a screenshot of the element desktop and mobile apps

Alternative toWhatsApp, Facebook Messenger
Features: Open Source
Self-host: Yes

Led by the creators of Matrix, Element is a very popular choice among privacy enthusiasts that is just getting better day by day.

It supports End-to-end encryption by default to keep your conversations out of prying eyes, and has support for Federation with multiple networks.

But, it is just one of the many Matrix clients for decentralized messaging. So, go ahead and start exploring!

Suggested Read 📖

9 Best Matrix Clients for Decentralized Messaging
Matrix is an open network standard tailored for secure decentralized real-time communication. It is published and maintained by a non-profit, Matrix.org Foundation. They aim to create an open, independent, and evolving communication platform. If an application supports the Matrix protocol,…

What else?

Here are some other platforms that are not completely open source or decentralized, but they respect your privacy and free speech:

  • MeWe — Alternative to Facebook
  • ProtonMail — Alternative to Gmail
  • Peepeth — Social network powered by Blockchain
  • DeSo — Web3 Social Platform
  • XMPP — Alternative to Whatsapp

I know there are probably a dozen other alternative social media platforms. Feel free to share your favorites below.

💬 If you had to choose one of the platforms from the list, which would you choose?

About the author
Abhishek Prakash

Abhishek Prakash

Created It's FOSS 11 years ago to share my Linux adventures. Have a Master's degree in Engineering and years of IT industry experience. Huge fan of Agatha Christie detective mysteries 🕵️‍♂️

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