Facebook is now the fifth largest business in America as measured by market capitalization. The bulls are of the opinion that Facebook’s network effect is simply too powerful for any competitor to overcome. The bears would point out that Facebook’s most promising segment today is Instagram, a startup that Facebook acquired only six years ago.
Is Facebook’s moat really as impenetrable as many investors assume? We may soon find out. Openbook, a project backed by cyber security and privacy pioneers is launching a crowdfunding campaign to build an alternative to Facebook.
The new platform, Openbook, is backed by experts including Philip Zimmermann, who created PGP, the most widely used email encryption software, and Jaya Baloo, chief information security officer for Dutch telecoms company KPN Telecom. The site will be “open source, zero tracking, zero spying, zero ads”, and give 30 per cent of its revenue to charitable causes.
Joel Hernandez, Openbook’s founder and chief executive, is a cyber security engineer who has wanted to create an alternative to Facebook for years. But he is acting now because of increasing awareness of the value of privacy.
The platform will take advantage of the new data portability rules under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation that allow European users to transfer their data from Facebook and Twitter.
Read more here.
Jeremy Jones, CFA
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