Opinion: Unthink, Occupy Wall Street and the coming age of the anti-Facebook

unthink

Early today, Tampa-based startup Unthink launched its new social network, which describes itself as the “anti-Facebook.” Complete with deeds and manifestos of its philosophies and guidelines, Unthink promises to never sell your personal data for financial gain, to not “spy” on you or interrupt you with unwanted advertising. “We are not another social network,” the Unthink website proclaims. “We are a social revolution.”

Who owns your data?

Unlike either Facebook or Google+, Unthink says that users will have complete ownership of the personal data – things like names, ages, religion, political leanings and sexual orientation – that they add to their Unthink profile. Facebook, on the other hand, uses everything from personal data to users’ photos to custom tailor advertising. It’s one of the primary ways Facebook makes money – and the reason the social network doesn’t cost a dime to use.

Despite the revolutionary talk of Unthink, the company will still sell advertising. Rather than serve ads based upon mined data, however, Unthink (which has reportedly received around $2.5 million in funding from venture capitalists) will allow users to choose which companies, if any, they would like to have “sponsor” their profiles. Users can also opt-out of advertising entirely, at a shockingly low cost of $2 per year.

The “anti-Facebook” message of Unthink appears to have resonated, as the site has been so heavily bombarded with traffic all day that gaining access has proven impossible. That is not to say, however, that Unthink will be successful, or steal even a single user away from Facebook – it probably won’t. But I will say this: Change is in the air, and the desire for a new way floats just beneath the surface, ready to percolate to a disruptive boil the moment someone turns up the heat.

occupy wall street shutterstockCapturing a wider sentiment

As you likely already realized, a similar anti-corporate sentiment has already begun to make waves offline. In lower Manhattan, and in cities around the world, disgruntled people who feel abused by a system that allows institutions to make nauseating amounts of money at the expense of the masses – the 99 percent – have begun to chant, and scream, and march, and occupy, in an attempt to have their voices heard.

Occupy Wall Street and its sibling movement are a long time in the making. In the period between 1979 and 2007 – before the financial collapse that sunk the world economy into its current pitiful hole – the incomes of the richest 1 percent of Americans expanded by 275 percent while the incomes of the bottom 20 percent expanded by only 18 percent, according to a report out today by the Congressional Budget Office.

It is because of this inequality, and the system that it allowed the income gap to widen so obscenely, that an increasing number of people are leaving their homes to go live in a park and face rain, ridicule and the violence of police night sticks to fight back against the injustices they see in the American society.

Can Unthink move the masses?

At this point, it seems unlikely that such a rebellion will take place against Facebook and Google’s policies that turn users into a commodity. But the fact that Unthink exists, and that it received such an overwhelming immediate response, suggests that the pot may be beginning to boil in that realm as well.

Of course, many forces stand firmly in the way of such outrage, with laziness, apathy and ignorance of users sitting comfortably at the top of the heap. I’d like to say with any certainty that Unthink will be successful in its so-called social media revolution; that users will shun the convenience, enjoyment and usefulness of Facebook on sheer principal in the same way Occupy protesters have given up the comforts of home to make their point – but I’d be lying if I did.

Then again, the Occupy Wall Street movement seemed equally unlikely just a few months ago, at least to those who weren’t paying close attention. And if the emergence of Unthink is any indication, it would seem Mark Zuckerberg and his fellow 1-percenters would be wise to do just that, before wrath of the masses put their feet to the fire. 

Bottom photo credit: lev radin / Shutterstock.com

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Product Review

The ThinkPad X1 Extreme is a love letter to PC geeks

Lenovo’s ThinkPad line-up is targeted at business use, but it’s long appealed to hardcore PC geeks as well. The new X1 Extreme, which combines a powerful processor and high-resolution screen with Nvidia graphics, seems built for them…
Home Theater

MicroLED vs. OLED: Two hot TV technologies battle for your dollars

Samsung claims its new MicroLED TV tech offers all the benefits of OLED without the drawbacks. Join Digital Trends to take a close look to see if MicroLED TV lives up to the hype, and where it could go in the future.
Computing

Is the new Surface Pro 6 worth the extra money or is the Surface Go good enough?

Each of Microsoft’s Surface devices are great, but with the recent addition of the Surface Pro 6, you might be wondering how it stacks up against the Surface Go. In this comparison piece, we’ve put the two devices up against each other…
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Glass,’ ‘Mortal Engines,’ ‘Pet Sematary’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. To simplify things, we round up the best ones each week. On tap this week: New trailers for Pet Sematary, Glass, Mortal Engines, and other upcoming films.
Mobile

No, blue light from your cell phone won’t make you blind

A new study from the University of Toledo reveals the process by which blue light impacts the photoreceptors in our eyes and leads to macular degeneration, an incurable eye disease that causes blindness later in life. The fact that blue…
Computing

Nvidia’s new GPUs look amazing, but that doesn’t mean you should buy one

Nvidia's GeForce 2080 is a powerful graphics card that supports ray tracing to deliver real-time cinematic renderings of shadows, light, and reflection in games, but unless you were already planning on upgrading, you'll probably want to…
Movies & TV

Bored with Netflix? As it goes global, the selection is about to explode

Netflix is going global. And even if you never leave step foot outside America, you should be excited. More subscribers abroad means more original, diverse content, and plenty to watch when House of Cards gets stale.
Wearables

New Wear OS smartwatches have arrived! Here’s why you shouldn’t buy them

The likes of Skagen and Diesel have unveiled new Wear OS smartwatches at IFA 2018. You shouldn't buy them, because they're utilizing an old processor. Qualcomm is expected to announce a new wearable processor next month.
Home Theater

8K is the next big thing in TVs. Get over it

8K is the next big thing in TV. At least, that’s how LG, Samsung, Sony, and Sharp would have it. At IFA 2018, Samsung announced it would begin shipping its gorgeous Q900R series series 8K TVs this year. LG arrived with a glorious 88-inch…
Features

Opinion: Apple needs to modernize its antiquated annual app update routine

While Google updates its core Android apps frequently through the Play Store, Apple saves up core app updates for its annual iOS unveiling. Perhaps it’s time that Apple took a new approach.
Photography

Canon and Nikon’s new mirrorless cameras impress. Should Sony start worrying?

Canon’s EOS R and Nikon’s Z mirrorless systems are coming out of the gate strong, incorporating features that took Sony years to implement and refine. But Sony still has a lead, and may have it for some time.
Mobile

XS Max? XR? Apple’s new iPhone names are a confusing mess

Apple's new iPhone range has the most baffling set of names we've seen in a while, and it's not good news. The phones may be great, but the confusing names shift away from the one brand name everyone knows.
Apple

OPINION: Apple’s new iPhones show off its best tech, and also its greed

We’re just as enamored by the new iPhones as the next person, but with fast charging an extra cost and the removal of the headphone dongle it feels like Apple is gouging us on accessories.
Smart Home

The Google Home Hub doesn’t have a camera. Here’s why that’s a good thing

Bucking the smart display trend, Google's new $149 Home Hub smart display surprisingly doesn't have a camera. We think a camera-less Google smart speaker with a screen is a good thing, and here's why.