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Unthink: a bold new approach to information privacy in social networking

A new startup social networking platform named “Unthink” launched early last week. The company is hoping to seriously challenge Facebook, Google+, and other established social networking sites on a platform of “emancipation” to its users. Unthink was founded on the idea that mainstream social networking sites have too much control over the information that their users input. Social networking sites like Facebook exploit their users by using their information for advertisement, marketing, and potentially more. With recent controversies over information control in social networks, Unthink may turn out to be a new big name in online social networking.

Unthink is seeking to redefine social networking as the “anti-facebook”. As Sarah Perez of TechCrunch writes, “The majority of Unthink’s message is about what it is not: it’s not another social network, it’s a social revolution. Unthinkers are not users, they’re owners. Unthink is not in control, you are.” The design for this new site is based on the concept of “suites”. Inside a user’s suite, the user has complete control over their information and how it is shared. The suite is divided in its relay of information to other users through Public, Social, Lifestyle, and Professional “streams”- much like the “circles” that Google+ users can use to control the flow of information on their network. These four streams are viewable only by certain groups (aside from Public, which is viewable by everyone) and give users greater control over the dissemination of their information. Outside of these suites, users can choose to interact with “brands” and businesses to control what kind of information they receive from these brands. Unlike Facebook’s targeted advertisements, users of Unthink can control everything they see.

The release of Unthink is very indicative of the current trend towards controlling personal information dissemination on the internet. Since the dramatic boom of online networks, users have been trying to reel back in a sense of privacy and control. Unthink is the epitome of a desired “directed flow” in networks, which promotes both of these ideas of privacy and control over information. Unthink controls the flow of information- both personal and commercial- more effectively than any social networking site to date.

With its ideas of “emancipation”, “ownership”, and “freedom” Unthink is launching a bold campaign for social networking privacy, and it will be interesting to see how its campaign plays out. Most current users of big-name social networking sites don’t feel threatened by their lack of control over personal information, but even these sites have had their fair share of policy changes in recent months. Though movement between these different social networks is limited, should more policy changes be revealed in the coming months, perhaps Unthink will be just the information safe-house that social networking users need.



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