A new Social Network called CAYOVA launched a few days ago. You might wonder why the world needs yet another social network. To answer that, we need take a look at how the biggest of them all – Facebook – operates and how it treats its users. Once you know that, you’ll understand why there is a need for a new social network after all…

Facebook – Boo!

There are a few Social Networks out there in cyberspace, Facebook being the most well-known and best established with probably not far off 1 billion users.

Facebook and Privacy

However, one issue has followed Facebook down the years, and that’s the issue of privacy. Facebook take the view that everything you post on their site is for public consumption and, if you want more privacy, then it’s up to you as a user to figure out where the privacy settings are and opt out of certain options.

Facebook also has a history of repeat offending where your privacy is concerned and it also plays a bit fast and loose with the data it collects from you and about you. The Facebook Home app (for Android) that’s been released also raises many questions about how private your data is if you use that app. Gigacom have a post about the app that’s worth reading.

Facebook and Copyright Ownership

And then there’s the issue of photos and videos posted on Facebook. If you took the photo, you retain copyright of the image. But if it’s posted on Facebook, they get a license to use your photograph anyway they see fit for free AND you grant them the right to let others use you picture as well (this is in their Terms & Conditions)!

They’re not alone in this. Other services like Twitter and Twitpic along with Facebook can make money from the photograph or video (which, otherwise, would be a copyright violation), but these sites are making commercial gain by licensing these images (for which you receive no fee), which contains the likeness of the person in the photo or video (otherwise, a violation of their “rights of publicity”).

Want to know more about the “rights” services like these assume from you?

The Purpose of Facebook

The whole raison d’etre for Facebook is to share stuff. What if someone posts one of your images (say from one of your sites) to their Facebook wall? You’ve just lost control of that image and you may never know who first used your image without your permission even before it got put on Facebook.

Take a look at the Facebook ads on your wall. See those images? A sizeable number of those are images posted by users to Facebook. Yet Facebook are using them in ads. They assume implicit permission is given by users for them to use images in this way.

Are you comfortable with that? What if it’s an image of you that appears on an ad, and it looks like your endorsing a product you have absolutely no connection with?

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CAYOVA – Hooray!

That whole privacy thing (and Google is also something with questionable ethics regarding privacy) is something that bothered a few guys who got together and created CAYOVA, a Social Network focused on privacy. They don’t assume you want everything posted broadcast to the world (though you can do that if you choose – the point being that you can choose). All your data is protected so no one can see it except you or those whom you want to see it.

Privacy is at the heart of this new social network and the whole system was built around that paradigm. CAYOVA doesn’t purloin your uploaded images and stick them in ads; it doesn’t use your content without your permission and make money from it without giving you due recompense.

CAYOVA is about you, your privacy and how you want to interact with others on the network, not about how the network can benefit from you and how your data, details and content can be leveraged to make money for the network owners.

CAYOVA launched just a few days ago and I know one of the guys involved and I was involved in some very early testing of the system. It’s still early days for this new social networking venture so there may be a few glitches that still need to be sorted out. Think of it as being in a Beta phase.

There’s an interesting option in it called Market Me which you should check out. There’s obviously no fee required to sign up and I think you’ll like what you see.

Right now, you have to be invited to join, so use this special link and check CAYOVA out.

Your Privacy Online Is Important

There doesn’t appear to be much attention paid by users of current social networks or other online systems (like Google) as to how their data is handled. Google keeps records of everything you do online through its search engine; advertising networks put tracking cookies on your PC to see what sites you visit, etc. And you’re assumed to be ok with all of this tracking. After all – your getting access to free services so there has to be some kind of payback, right?

If you ever have any concerns about how your online data is used, remember you can always contact the Electronic Frontier Foundation.


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