Facebook alternative Diaspora fully funded

Image caption, The Diaspora team are students at New York University

Four students in New York have raised $200,000 (£136,000) to build an open alternative to Facebook.

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

The students used the fundraising site Kickstarter to raise a total of $200,642 to build the technology.

The project came to attention following attacks on Facebook for its privacy policies that it was eventually forced to change.

Before the funding closed, the team wrote: "You may not hear too much from us in the coming months and we will try our best to provide regular updates, but our silence means we are hard at work."

'False claims'

During the summer the team plan to write the software that will permit the creation of a social network where each user stores their own data and, crucially, has control over that data and who it is shared with.

For those who want some guidance they are also planning a "turnkey" service that will do a lot of the background technical work for users.

"We are going after the idea there are all these centralised services where people are giving up their personal information. We want to put users back in control of what they share," Max Salzberg, one of the founders, recently told BBC News.

The team had originally aimed to raise $10,000 to kick-start the venture. However, in the end the three computer scientists and one mathematician raised $200,642 from nearly 6,500 people.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, reportedly contacted the project.

Facebook was recently forced to simplify its privacy settings, following an outcry from users, privacy experts and regulators.

Talking at the D8 conference in California on Wednesday, Mr Zuckerberg said there had been "misperceptions that we are trying to make all information open".

"That is false," he said.

He also said that he had no intention of taking the company public and that he did not spend time focusing on what his competitors were doing.

"It is more likely that the biggest competitor for us is someone we haven't heard of," he said.

Facebook currently has nearly 500 million users.

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