Occupy Facebook: A new social network for the 99%

Young activists involved in Occupy Wall Street are currently developing a new platform dubbed the Occupy version of Facebook.

A team of young activists with an aptitude for technology are planning to design a new 'Facebook' for the age of global protesters.

Ed Knutson, a website and mobile application developer within the Occupy development team said: "I don't want to say we're making our own Facebook. But, we're making our own Facebook."

(Source: Flickr)

The developers hope that the platform currently being built will eventually become a new tool for other demonstrations and 'Occupy' protests to utilise.

Rather than relying on social networking giants like Facebook or Twitter, the group believes it is high time that the 'protesting generation' built and run their own online communication system.

Although social platforms like Facebook or Twitter are currently a key component in creating online communities and for the exchange of demonstration details and ideas, the Occupy developers want to lessen the requirement to rely on these services. As a preemptive measure, the team would like to be able to pull together the chaotic state of different protest websites and create a more central hub for communication.

It's no wonder that this idea has sprung to the surface. Social networking is an extremely powerful tool in the arsenal of global demonstrators.

If you consider the example of Egyptian dictator Mubarak 'turning off' the Internet to prevent such communication, it is shown to be an incredible weapon for groups to use for organising themselves and sharing ideas on a scale that never used to be possible.

However, the recent subpoena Twitter received for protester information reminds us that the services demonstrators use are within the control of large corporations -- and the current facilities may not always be available.

The developing platform is hoped to become an open source alternative focused on protesters, rather than a business model that will try to compete with Facebook or Twitter. It will serve a particular purpose in becoming a 'private' platform for activists.

However, there are risks in creating such a loose, open source project. To limit these risks, the platform will be using a 'friend of a friend model' to instigate trust and limit spying or sabotage. Members will not be able to become 'full' users without a sponsor, unlike Facebook, Twitter or Google +.

The 'Occupy Facebook' is to be designed with the group in mind, rather than the individual. It may be a way to further unify protesters across social networking, but without extensive developer support it may become little more than a private forum and a directory.