Facebook alternative Diaspora eyes launch date

Diaspora logo Many believe that it will be difficult to challenge Facebook

An open alternative to Facebook will be launched on 15 September, the developers of the project have said.

Diaspora describes itself as a "privacy-aware, personally-controlled" social network.

The open-source project made headlines earlier this year when Facebook was forced to simplify its privacy settings, after they were criticised for being overly complex and confusing.

The project, developed by four US students, raised $200,000 (£140,000).

"We have Diaspora working, we like it, and it will be open-sourced on September 15th," the team wrote on their blog.

The team said they had spent the summer "building clear, contextual sharing".

Start Quote

I think there will be a lot of people watching to see just what the team come up with”

End Quote Maggie Shiels Technology reporter

"That means an intuitive way for users to decide, and not notice deciding, what content goes to their co-workers and what goes to their drinking buddies. We know that's a hard [user interface] problem and we take it seriously."

The project was started by three computer scientists and one mathematician from New York.

Their idea of building it gained momentum earlier this year during an intense period of criticism of Facebook, the world's largest social network

"We want to put users back in control of what they share," Max Salzberg, one of the founders, told BBC News at the time.

The team turned to the fundraising site Kickstarter to raise the $10,000 they thought they would need to build the network.

In the end the team raised $200,642 from nearly 6,500 people.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, reportedly donated to the project.

The initial release on 15 September will be to "open-source" Diaspora, meaning that the team will make the underlying code available for anyone to see and modify.

Many believe that it will be difficult to challenge Facebook, which now has 500 million users and is currently estimated to be worth $33bn.

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