1.1 Why a Better Social Network is Important

The foundation of human progress is our ability to communicate with our friends, families, neighbors and community. Communication is how we share information, build communities and grow our businesses, clubs, social networks and even political movements.


Being able to communicate openly, freely and securely is also the best way to solve problems and resolve conflicts – both of which require the ability to share and hear all points of view. Free, open communication is also the basis of the scientific method and is essential to critical thinking.


In addition, our economy is increasingly based on information sharing technology. However, rather than using information sharing for educational purposes, the current top down networks use information sharing technology to maximize short term profits.

Freedom of expression, access to information, and privacy are fundamental human rights that should be respected on the Internet as well as in real life. Just as the key to political freedom is local control of government, the key to freedom of speech is local control of the data.

Sadly, we are currently living in an age of censorship which is severely damaging our economy, our relationships, our communities, our ability to solve problems and our ability to create political change. This censorship is often hidden. It is used by those in power to prevent us from organizing and from sharing information.


Here are just three examples of this hidden censorship.

In 2008, after the economic collapse caused by Wall Street Banks piling up billions in gambling debts, reckless bankers who caused the crash were rescued by trillions of dollars in bailouts by the corrupt US Congress. Meanwhile, millions of Americans lost their homes, their businesses and their life savings. It was the greatest transfer of wealth in human history.

In response, my wife Elizabeth and a few of her friends formed a Facebook group called Occupy the Money System to expose this crime and to advocate for public banks, such as the Bank of North Dakota, as an alternative to the corrupt Wall Street banks. Her group quickly gathered more than 10,000 “Friends.” In response, the billionaires who control Facebook, began shadowing banning her posts – by not sharing them with her 10,000 Friends. In a matter of weeks, there was no more communication as her Facebook page was being :shadow banned”. The corrupt Wall Street banks are still getting billions of tax payer dollars every year from our corrupt Congress while millions of Americans lost their homes and their life savings.


My wife learned a valuable lesson. If you want to build a real sustainable community, then you have to have full control over the database which distributes information to members of your community.

The second example was more recent and more local. In 2020, when mask mandates and shot mandates were imposed on our public schools, a group of local parents formed a Facebook group to share information about the drawbacks of masks and shots and to organize protests at local school board meetings. Their local Facebook group quickly had more than 900 members. However, in a matter of weeks, Facebook deleted their Parents Rights group. For the next two years, millions of students were required to wear masks – despite the fact that the masks harmed learning, harm physical, emotional and social development and despite the fact that children rarely get and almost never transmit the corona virus.


The final example is a local business owner whose in person store was illegally shut down by the mandatory government lock down. The business owner created an online store to continue to sell their products. Sadly, the website building tool this business owner used required a Facebook account to log into the website administration pages. This person spent more than a year building hundreds of product pages in their online store. However, they were accused of posting something objectionable to their Instagram page – and their Instagram page was shut down. Because Instagram is controlled by Facebook, their Facebook page was also closed. And because their online store account was linked to their Facebook account, their online store account was also closed. More than a years work was lost as well as access to all of their customers.


Recently, the FBI has seized documents from a former President, and seized the phone of a member of Congress who was connected to former Justice Department official Jeffery Clark – who had the audacity of questioning the results of the 2020 election. It is certain that the FBI already knows what is on this phone. Clark recently had his home searched by the FBI. Neither Clark or Perry have been charged with any crimes. There are millions of additional examples like this of people being harmed by censorship not only by Facebook but also by Twitter, YouTube and many other communication platforms.

But the problem is much worse than this. Thanks to the 2001 Patriot Act, those in power have shut down tens of thousands of small business and social change websites without a single court hearing – with more being shut down every day.

Even worse, millions of websites have been attacked and shut down by hackers – with tools created by the US Government – resulting in hundreds of billions of dollars in losses. The situation is so bad that today, every Windows and Apple computer is infected by government created malware called UEFI which allows the government to remotely turn off and brick our computers if we say or do anything that our corrupt government does not like. This is also true of our Android and Apple phones.

How to Research Social Network Options
It takes years to nurture relationships needed to build a thriving and sustainable online community network. As folks who built their social network on Facebook have discovered, it is very difficult to migrate your community from one online platform to another. You should therefore research your options carefully and understand the important factors to consider in order to build your community network on a solid foundation. The most important factors are not always the most obvious factors. Let’s review some factors you should consider when deciding on a social network.

Here are just a few of the factors you should consider:

#1 Is the Social Network Platform Really Free?

#2 Is the Social Network Platform Secure?

#3 Is the Social Network Platform Open Source?

#4 Can the Social Network Platform be easily installed on a virtual private server?

#5 Do you have full control over the database that is the foundation of your social network?

#6 Does the Social Network Platform have a simple search tool to encourage bottom up community organizing based on both shared interests and location?

#7 Does the Social Network Platform include Profile Pages for each member where they can indicate their most important Issues and Interests?

#8 Can the Social Network by “white labeled” or customized so that its appearance can be changed to match the goals and interests of the local group running the network?

Let’s take a closer look at why each of these factors is important.

#1 Is the Social Network Platform Really Free?
While mega social networks like Facebook and Twitter claim to be free, the truth is that they are not free at all. They are run by mega corporations who make a profit by selling your data to the highest bidder. So you are paying a huge hidden price even if you do not know it.

There are several reasons a successful and sustainable social network platform has to be free. One reason is that the groups who are most likely to use a social network platform often times have little or no money. These include local Parent Teacher Associations, local clubs, local political organizations and local community organizations. Another reason the platform has to be free is a test of honesty. The truth is that copying a program is in fact free. There is no reason for charging people for copies of programs.

#2 Is the Social Network Platform Secure?
As all online social networks are built using an interactive website, it is important that the platform used for the social network and the website be secure against hackers. Website security is not merely a matter of getting the right security tools – because hackers will eventually find a way to overcome almost any security tool. Instead, security is a matter of joining and building a community of supporters who can band together to provide ways to defend against and overcome hacking attacks.

#3 Is the Social Network Platform Open Source?
There are two reasons we should choose an Open Source platform rather than a closed source commercial platform. The first is security. The code of open source platforms is available for everyone to look at. While you may not be able to read computer code, at least some members of your community need to be able to read this code to make sure that it does not contain any hidden malicious back doors. Private closed source commercial platforms typically use encrypted code to prevent copying. But this same encryption prevents inspection of the code which in turn prevents the code from being verified as safe.

The second reason your social network should be open source is to increase the odds it will continue to exist over time. Should the lead developers die or have a falling out, open source code can be “forked” with the community simply developing another version of the same code. Open source is thus the key to a sustainable and secure social network platform.

#4 Can the Social Network Platform be easily installed on a Virtual Private Server?
An independent social network is not going to grow in popularity if it is difficult to install. We will use a graphical control panel called Hestia to install a social network called Freedica. The key reason it is easy to install is because it is written in a language called PHP – as is Joomla and NextCloud – and Hestia specializes in installing PHP based programs in just a few minutes.

#5 Do you have full control over the database that is the foundation of your social network?
This is perhaps one of the most crucial and overlooked points. It does no good to move away from Facebook and into another platform where another for profit corporation or another billionaire controls the database and/or the program that accesses the database.


My mom always said, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” The single most important reason for your group to set up your own social network is so that your group will control the entire database, including all email accounts and administrator access – rather than some mega-corporation who can and will sell your data to the highest bidder – and could even deny you access to the very community that you created.


#6 Does the Social Network Platform have a simple search tool to encourage bottom up community organizing based on both shared interests and location?
Do members of your social network have the ability to reach out to other members of the community and organize groups within your network. This is another very important issue that is typically overlooked. The problem with Facebook is not merely that someone else controls your data and communication channels. It is that Facebook uses a Top Down rather than Bottom Up organizational and communication structure. There is no way for folks to reach out to all other members of the network in their city who share their interests. You can set up a Facebook page on funding your local schools. But there is no way to reach out to everyone else in the same school district who is interested in school funding.

Consider for example how to do political organizing. There are 50 million Democrats and 50 million Republicans in the US. But billionaires control both parties through bribery of political leaders. Then the party bosses control both major parties by restricting access to the Party database. Imagine if any Democrat or any Republican in one city could reach out to all other Democrats or Republicans in the same city with the goal of going around the corrupt party bosses and directly to their neighbors to form a city wide community sub-group. The dominance of the two party system by political bosses could be ended overnight. The key to empowering bottom up organization and communication is to give each person on the network access to the search parameters in the database. For example, giving members a search tool that allows all Network Members in Seattle with an interest in Education Funding a way to reach all other Network Members in Seattle with an interest in Education Funding. This kind of free bottom up organizing is exactly what is needed to transform our corrupt political system today – putting the power of the Internet in the hands of the people.

#7 Does the Social Network Platform include Profile Pages for each member where they can indicate their most important Issues and Interests?
A search tool based on Interests and Location will not work unless each member has the ability to customize their Profile Page to add searchable terms. Here is the Freedica Profile page:


#8 Can the Social Network by “white labeled” or customized so that its appearance can be changed to match the goals and interests of the local group running the network?

A primary purpose of a locally controlled social network is to foster a common shared vision. This requires being able to customize every aspect of your social network. Here is an example of the customizable Home Page of our Freedica Social Network:


Other important characteristics of a real bottom up social network are the ability to create your own custom groups as well as the ability to create and share your own custom events, the ability to add searchable Topic Tags to posts and the ability to set up RSS feeds so you can be notified whenever someone you are following makes a new post on a topic you are interested in learning more about.

What’s Next?
Before we review how to install Freedica, we will first take a look at some of the serious drawbacks of existing top down social networks.