Tools for Online Communities

Before Facebook existed, online communities existed via e-mail lists, Usenet newsgroups, and bulletin board systems (BBS). Yes, kids, Facebook is not the only solution to help you organize and manage communities online. You may say Facebook makes it convenient, whilst you may be right, but at what costs? Facebook promotes hate (because it generates more posts), makes you addictive to it by manipulating what you see (in fact, Facebook can even manipulate how you feel — this is true, do a DuckDuckGo search if you don’t believe it), and profits from fake news, all under the guise of ‘connecting each other’. Just an experiment, go to your favorite Facebook community and see how fast you veer towards your timeline and other recommended posts by Facebook, which contains fake news aimed to trigger you. So to help you, here’s a shortlist of alternatives that you can use:

  1. E-mail lists have not really changed in a long time. It was given a web-based interface via Yahoo! Groups, which Google Groups rapidly ate up. Yes, Google Groups still exists, but I don’t recommend it for communities as Google scrapes messages there to use for their advertising. is the next best thing — free for limited features, but paid if you want to upgrade. Yes, there is the business model — not free forever, in exchange for your data — a subscription model for more features. This is an excellent platform for those who prefer interacting via e-mail.
  2. is a messaging system based on, “an open network of secure, decentralized communication.” Facebook Messenger, and its sibling, WhatsApp, serve their master and collect as much data as it could about you and who you are communicating with. There are others, like Viber (which collects data and sells it to advertiser as its business model, and they’re not hiding it, you just refuse to see it) and Telegram (which is a good alternative BUT the way they protect/encrypt communications is questionable, i.e., not peer or third-party audited), but they are lacking in privacy or encryption, or both. is, so far, the best cross-platform group/community messaging service out there. You can use the public matrix server,, and create your community there, called rooms, or you can deploy your own server and make it exclusive only for your community. Yes, it is open source, so you can review the software code yourself (and it was reviewed by third-party, independent reviewers).
  3. If your group is private (and you don’t mind exchanging mobile phone numbers, though Signal is working on removing this requirement soon, I’ve heard), Signal is, IMHO, the best cross-platform messaging solution today. In fact, this is the best tool to defeat state-sponsored surveillance. And like and, Signal is also open source, and its underlying encryption technology has been peer-reviewed, too.
  4. MeWe. If you prefer something that looks like a social network, then MeWe is for you. Like above, MeWe has a free tier that allows you to participate on the platform, but with paid features, such as additional storage beyond the free 8GB, live voice and video calling, custom emojis and stickers, etc. MeWe also has a paid version for enterprises called MeWePRO.
So there you have it, four alternative tools to replace Facebook as your online community platform. Don’t put your community members’ personal data and their mental health at risk by staying on Facebook! There is a saying in Filipino, “Kung gusto, may paraan. Kung ayaw, maraming dahilan.”

Ditch Facebook now.