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Occupy Movement now building its own Facebook

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Looks like Facebook will be getting some scrappy up-start competition from the members of the Occupy Movement. Even though many of the various protest movements of 2011 made great use of existing social networks like Facebook and Twitter, it turns out that some in the Movement are not content to rely on the internet giants, citing privacy concerns and the obvious fact that these sites are useful only until they give all your information over to the government. So what's a group of progressive people with potentially lots of free time and (I'm guessing, but I'm definitely right) more than a few programmers in their ranks? Make your own Facebook, obviously:

A move away from mainstream social networks is already happening on several levels within the Occupy movements — from the local networks already set up for each occupation to an in-progress, overarching, international network project called Global Square, that Knutson is helping to build. Those networks are likely to be key to Occupy’s future, since nearly all of the largest encampments in the United States have been evicted — taking with them the physical spaces where activists communicated via the radically democratic General Assemblies….

But those developments aren’t specifically focused on protest movements. And the Occupy movement’s surprising rise in the U.S. has added new impetus to the desire for open source versions of the software that is playing an increasingly important role in mobilizing and connecting social movements, as well as broadcasting their efforts to the world.

Of course, simply creating such a network only tackles part of the problem; if you can't make sure the network is secure, then there's really no point. (Which is why some are suggesting a new member must be sponsored by an existing one before being able to join a network, for instance.)

And, like many of the things associated with OWS and its sister organizations around the US, there's a bit of chaos in this push to develop a Facebook for protesters. There are a lot of voices clamoring to be heard, and there are several competing projects that would essentially fill the same niche (with some variation). Whatever comes out of these efforts, it probably won't become the new Facebook. (It probably won't even be the new Google+. Or Friendster.) But it might still be a useful way for organizers and activists to brainstorm, coordinate, and get messages out away from the prying eyes of Mark Zuckerberg and police forces eager to stymie their efforts.