Facebook’s omniscient success is inspiring others to create better and less intrusive versions. Diaspora* was originally started by four NYU students—Daniel Grippi, Maxwell Saltzberg, Raphael Sofaer and Ilya Zhitomirskiy—and is open-sourced and controlled by its users.
Ed Knutson, an Occupy Wall Street Drupal expert, said that Facebook sells user information to cover the huge costs of hosting data. His projects, Global Square and the soon-to-be-unveiled Federated General Assembly, were built so people could communicate directly in an ad hoc fashion. They aren’t run through a central node of servers, and if the burden is distributed and each community hosts it own node, the costs drop considerably. Also, a distributed network is less likely to be a victim of denial of service attacks or government interference.
Eben Moglen, founder of the Software Freedom Law Center, predicts that within a few months, the federated social network will be up and running and pose a serious threat to Facebook. He told the Village Voice, “So somewhere between 12 and 120 months from now, Facebook is going to cease to exist.”