October 23, 2021

Alternatives to Google Search and Facebook

Watch “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix and you may decide to change some habits related to privacy and security, especially with Facebook and Google Search. In today’s environment, it is not so easy to get away from these large corporations (including Amazon and others that track you around the internet).

The problem I experience is keeping informed of what my friends are doing. Once travel is again possible, I suspect I’ll notice this problem more acutely. In the past, I have depended on Facebook (and Instagram) to follow the adventures of my friends and to post photos of my trips.

Links for additional information on privacy
Restore Privacy
Surveillence Self Defence (EFF)
Cover Your Tracks (EFF)

Browser = I recommend using Firefox as your default browser, rather than Chrome (Windows) or Safari (Mac). Firefox is more secure and helps prevents Google and Apple from tracking you. There are a number of extensions I recommend to use with Firefox (and Chrome if you still want to use it): Web of Trust, Privacy Badger, Cookie AutoDelete (adding exceptions for your banks and some other sites), and uBlock Origin. The Firefox extension, Facebook Container, is good at stopping Facebook tracking you around the web.

Search = https://duckduckgo.com/ – You should set the default search engine to this on all your browsers. If you want to do a Google search, you can start your search with “!g ” in front of your search term – then the search is sent to Google without identifying you. DuckDuckGo also has an app for your smart phone.

Facebook alternatives = https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/alternative-apps-quit-facebook/ – this article mentions replacements for Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp (all owned by Facebook). I now have an accounts on MeWe (a Facebook alternative), and have a few posts. I started trying to get friends to create accounts on MeWe, so more people can transition away from Facebook. MeWe promises not to sell tracking information or show ads on your feeds. They make their money from people who choose paid subscriptions (I have chosen a paid subscription because I want them to succeed). The biggest problem I have with MeWe is many users are not filling in their profile information, making it difficult to find them if their name might match someone else. If you get on (and I hope you do), please fill in your profile information.

I have not selected a replacement for Instagram, even though I have also deleted my account on that platform.

Until WhatsApp begins adding advertising in your conversations, I will continue using it. I also have an account with Signal (WhatsApp alternative). Telegram might also be a good alternative to WhatsApp.

Deleting your Facebook account = https://www.howtogeek.com/550024/how-to-delete-your-facebook-account/. You can easily find information on deleting you Instagram account.

One thought on “Alternatives to Google Search and Facebook

  1. Ray, these are interesting, informative and helpful; thanks. I have long cursed the “privacy” thing. Everywhere you go ….we value your privacy so we will share your details with a trillion other users and strictly limit it to that…..You can’t get onto many sites any longer without …..accepting our privacy policy…. I think it should be renamed “piracy policy”!!

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