New and existing social networks
Social networks are evolving, and evolving fast. Their role is growing so much that they are taking readers away from the traditional media, which defend themselves by claiming that their information is verified and reliable. This may seem obvious to the general public, but those who are interested in current affairs know that the major […]
Social networks are evolving, and evolving fast. Their role is growing so much that they are taking readers away from the traditional media, which defend themselves by claiming that their information is verified and reliable. This may seem obvious to the general public, but those who are interested in current affairs know that the major media publish just as much fake news as the others. The most insidious way of controlling information are these famous “fact checkers”, a subtle solution for controlling information, differentiating between “true” and “false” information by giving it an appearance of legitimacy thanks to “neutral” research, which fools fewer and fewer people now. Social networks also spread false information, but it is possible to cross-check it with different sources and a critical analysis.
The growing importance of networks and their lack of control by politicians is leading them to legislate in an attempt to regain control, the aim being to force platforms to carry out their own content censorship.
Censorship takes many forms:
- Contextualizing certain posts with a caption indicating where government-approved “scientific” information can be found, as happened on Facebook for the Covid pandemic.
- Delete some posts
- Banishment for a few hours, a few days, or even for life.
Almost everyone has been censored and experienced this on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, it’s happened to me and it’s pretty frustrating, especially when Facebook later admits it was wrong. To put it plainly, I had published a photo of the Butcha massacre that wasn’t yet public and was considered false or too shocking. Facebook replaced it and apologized some time later, when the information was broadcast by the mainstream media. Here we see the flaw: it’s hard to get new information to appear on Facebook, so it’s impossible to find this type of information – you have to go elsewhere for it. The majority of posts deleted are shares considered to be false information, sometimes it’s a simple matter of opinion. All images considered violent are also censored: photos or videos of injured or dead people, some of which slip through the algorithm’s cracks. A word of advice: avoid blood or red!
The sources of the censorship you have suffered are threefold: denunciations, algorithms and censorship teams. Of course, the reason for the deletion is hidden behind the words “fight against hate messages” or “false information” or “violent images”.
The reason I talk so much about censorship is that it’s currently what makes the difference between social media rising or falling, the big winner is Telegram. Network censorship is the battle of the future, with China, Russia, Europe and Canada already attempting to control all social media. You only have to listen to the comments of satisfaction from journalists in the official media about the introduction of measures to “combat hate messages and fake news” to know that the official networks are going to do everything in their power to try and muzzle the freedom of social networks.
This catalog of new social media will also enable you to orient your advertising investments on platforms according to their audience and growth. Now is the time to think about the future.
FacebookMark Zuckerberg’s network is still the most important, but it’s mainly aimed at adults. Its popularity is waning among young people, who are migrating to Instagram and TikTok, but also among adults who are disgusted by the censorship that affects almost all users who post on sensitive subjects. Facebook has become the empire of political correctness, and if you step out of line, you’re immediately penalized. To escape this, some people build several profiles to publish when they’re banned, but hey, it’s not pleasant.
On the positive side, Facebook is innovating with three applications: Market Place, where you can sell the items you want directly, just like on any other commerce platform, and Watch, which lets you watch short videos corresponding to your interests. And let’s not forget Messenger, a very practical means of communication that includes messaging, audio and video. Messenger is included with Facebook, but you can download it separately.
In any case, it’s a network that allows you to exchange information with friends, but that’s not the purpose of the network.
Facebook is still the world’s leading social network. It’s complete and enjoyable, but its influence is diminishing among young people and adults because of censorship.
YouTube is the best-known video distributor, you can promote your site with links placed in the descriptions of your videos, or get paid by YouTube if you’re able to gather 1,000 subscribers and get 4,000 viewing hours. It’s a lot, but it’s a new business model based on content, which is why some videos ask you to subscribe right from the start. If you have quality content to share, and the ability to publish at least once a week, go for it! Well-known Youtubers can have several million followers.
LinkedIn needs no introduction: it’s the ultimate global business network. If you have your own company, it’s a good idea to open two profiles, one for yourself and one for your company. A neglected application is that of “groups”, where you can ask to be part of a group and thus widen the distribution of your publications.
Viadeo Journal du Net
Viadeo is the French equivalent of LinkedIn, and was moribund in 2016, when the platform refocused on France and partnered with JDN (Journal du Net). For advertising purposes, it doesn’t replace but complements LinkedIn.
WhatApp is a messaging, phone and video communication network, a bit like Messenger, but used mainly in Europe. It’s interesting to see some French people refusing to use Facebook without knowing that What’s App is owned by Meta, like Facebook and Instagram.
Instagram is on the rise among young people who are abandoning Facebook. When users are asked why they don’t go on Facebook anymore, they reply: “There’s too much text and reading, on Instagram we have photos and videos, it’s lighter, more enjoyable, Facebook is for old people and TikTok for the very young”.
TikTok is all about short videos for an even shorter attention span than on Instagram. A social network created in China that is incredibly popular with young people in South-East Asia, as well as here at home. I know a few adults who use it for fun and light entertainment. It’s worth noting that a number of TikTok videos can be found on Facebook. I have to say I’ve seen a few that didn’t inspire me, but then, every platform has its audience.
X (Twitter) is currently the biggest loser. Twitter is first and foremost a source of information, but its aggressive censorship runs counter to its users’ desire to find what they want, without barriers or censorship. It wasn’t just Trump who was banned, but also Steve Bannon, Linn Wood, Courtney Love, several showbiz personalities and anyone deemed to be spreading “fake news” in the eyes of the censors, it was in fact political censorship. I’m talking in the past tense, because the eventual takeover by Elon Musk should change things. The rumors, which are plausible, that he is undermining the group of left-leaning “fact checkers” so as not to “woke up”, are of course not to everyone’s liking, but would free Twitter from its penalizing straitjacket. We can then trust Elon Musk to capitalize on the network’s potential. In the meantime, it’s a network with enormous potential, but plagued by fake accounts and a drain on people wishing to broadcast or find uncensored information.
Telegram is the biggest winner right now, created by the young Russian Durov brothers who had previously developed the Russian social network Vk, which they reportedly abandoned after it fell under the control of those close to Putin. They left Russia, moved to Dubai and launched Telegram. Opened in 2013 the network has exploded in leaps and bounds, taking advantage of censorship on Facebook and especially Twitter.
I have to say that it’s my favorite network for finding information from a variety of sources, uncensored at source, especially on the conflict in Ukraine. You can follow the Russian, Ukrainian, American and British news organizations directly, almost in real time. Of course, it’s up to you to think critically and try to sort out what’s false from what’s true, because everyone’s intoxicating. You can also use it with Google Trans to chat directly with foreign networkers.
Telegram is not an extraordinary aesthetic, it’s even crude, but it’s the widest access to sources of information, it’s also a communication tool by telephone or encrypted messaging which gives it great flexibility, information but also secure communication at the same time, which is not the case with the majority of other networks.
Truth Social is Donald Trump’s platform, which is said to be off to a slow and mixed start. I wanted to try it out, but I couldn’t. You need an iPhone. The Android application is announced as being available soon, but it’s also impossible to download the application from a desktop computer. It’s pretty frustrating, at least for the moment, but launching a half-finished network isn’t very serious and doesn’t bode well for the network’s future. If Donald Trump knew how to use social networks to succeed in politics, creating one is another matter.
GETTR is a beautiful platform created by Jason Miller, a former advisor to Donald Trump who is clearly more aesthetically pleasing than Telegram. It’s on a roll, but is still little used and of limited interest. The criticism from some users is that the content is clearly right-wing. Although aimed at the North American market, several right-wing personalities in France publish content on the site, including Marine Le Pen and Éric Zemmour. There’s even an account for Brigitte Macron and Emmanuel Macron, though without publication. It’s a platform that’s still limited in terms of the number of participants, but one to keep an eye on, as it’s the one most likely to replace Facebook.
Gab was created in Texas as a response to Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. The design resembles that of Gettr, which is quite pleasant, but the drawback is also the low number of subscribers. Some critics also believe that the encryption system has attracted extremist groups, but it’s true that they’re everywhere. Another platform to keep an eye on.
Vk is the Russian platform that competes with Facebook. Many have fled censorship to Vk. I have friends I know who have tried it but have come back, disappointed by the advertising, the stupid posts, the erotic ads.
I really like Quora, where participants ask questions and others answer them. Yahoo Question/Answers tried the same concept, but participants answered nonsense and the network was shut down. In Qora, on the other hand, you’ll get highly specialized answers from specialists, including university professors, military personnel, researchers, enthusiasts and people who have undergone extraordinary experiences. As a result, you’ll find much more in-depth answers than in general newspapers, on every subject, in an easy-to-read format. I’ve had several offers, but never had the time to do it. If you have time on your hands, it’s also a great way to make some money by spreading your knowledge. You can also reply to articles with a link pointing to your site, another way of doing SEO.
Discord is a fast-growing discussion and sharing network for young people, especially gamers, who can chat about their video games. It’s perfect for anyone with a common interest, as well as for collaborative work that broadens its audience in the world of work and study. It’s a network to keep an eye on.
- SnapChat : a very short video that automatically deletes itself, SnapChat seems to be plateauing, despite a slight increase in the number of registered users.
- Reddit: aggregation of content highlighted by participants’ “likes”. You have to like it, not me.
- WeChat : competitor to China’s What’s Apps
- Pinterest: for photos
- DailyMotion : French competitor to YouTube
- Vimeo: upload your videos for free or for a fee
What to do
I know a lot of friends who want to leave Facebook, frustrated by being censored too often, they try other networks, but are a bit disgusted because they find nothing there. This is often linked to the fact that the network is new, that they don’t know many people, but above all to the fact that they don’t know how to do it.
You must therefore :
- Invite your friends, e.g. Telegram, Signal, WhatApps
- Search for interesting groups and follow them, e.g. Twitter, Telegram, then they will appear every time you open your network.
- Enter keywords or phrases to search for, e.g. Twitter, Telegram, GETTR
- Some sites ask you for your areas of interest, so you can receive information and news on these topics.
- If the network doesn’t offer the possibility of inviting friends, then discussions take place in the comments written under publications, for example on Twitter or Telegram. The advantage is that you can talk to Russians, Ukrainians, Africans and North Africans. Discussions are held in French, usually in English, or via Google Trans. Rather than talking to like-minded friends, it’s quite fascinating to talk to foreigners, the discussions can be heated but never uninteresting, and you can inform them of news they don’t get in their own country…
And don’t forget to take a little time, not only to populate your new platform, but also to get used to it. You can also keep Facebook to exchange with your friends and take Twitter, Telegram and Quora to inform yourself, which is what I do.
The main social networks used in the West
|Share photos, videos, comments, links
|International business network
|French business network
|Messaging, quick calls, live video
|Photos and videos
|Short videos for young people
|Follow personalities or institutions, send messages
|United Arab Emirates
|The freest network for information and exchange
|Donald Trump’s social network
|Censorship-free social network from the American right.
|Censorship-free social network
|Questions and answers
|Short, self-deleting videos
|Aggregation of news and content highlighted with “likes”.
|Messaging and calls
|The best photo site in existence, classified by theme
|Videos, YouTube competitor
|To upload and sell your videos for free or for a fee
It’s up to you to decide where you want to advertise, but don’t forget, the more networks you set up, the more visible you’ll be, although there’s always the question of how much social networking sells.
The world’s top 25 social networks in order of popularity in 2022
|Monthly active users
|United Arab Emirates
I’m not going to recommend one platform over another, I think the key is to seek out information that you don’t currently have access to, you’ll gradually get out of your comfort zone, you’ll also be helping to change the current global landscape which is dominated by the five giants, Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp and Messenger.