Pledge to Protest

How would you protest a large social network all your friends are using?

It's hard to quit some social networks, because too many of our friends, family, or professional colleagues/contacts use them.

Pledge to Protest is here to help people find ways to protest specific social networks in a way that respects privacy (https-enabled, no analytics, no ads, no cookies, no login required).

The catch? This site won't tell you why to protest. You should know why. Everyone may have a different reason, which may change over time, and others may have none at all (in which case they should probably leave)!


Why does the site focus on social networks?

1. Because it's not obvious how to protest large social networks, and the main intent for this site is to be informational, so it's a good fit.

For example, with some internet companies like social networks you are the product, so it's not obvious how to "vote with your wallet." (As opposed to a non-internet company like Samsung: if the phone explodes, you might buy an iPhone.)

2. Social networks impact our lives in huge ways, including:

• Privacy (from web browsing to who you hang out with in real life)
• How many of us get our news, learn about important figures in society, etc.
• Free speech
• Whether their services follow non-discriminatory practices, like in ad targeting
• Terms of service may be onerous, like if they included forced arbitration or non-disparagement clauses

Why is it (perceived to be) hard to protest social networks?

First: it isn't. That's a myth. The consumer has so many options to protest. This myth should be dispelled, and that's the main thrust of this site.

What is harder than normal is quitting/boycotting (though still a powerful protest choice, it is oftentimes untenable). So why is quitting difficult?

1. Network effects have grown so strong that to quit might mean cutting yourself off from the world. In other words: they're almost utilities.
2. A very long list of additional reasons might compel people to stay on networks.
3. It's actually been shown that some big social networks don't necessarily "delete" your data when you quit, unless you make a really big fuss about it, which makes it a tricky protest option to accomplish. I recommend this documentary, which explores that subject in greater detail.

Why doesn't this site focus on the reasons to protest?

Primarily because the problem this site tries to address is how to protest. I can't pretend to ever do justice the reasons you may want to protest, and journalists already do a great job cataloging many of those points. And, just like a librarian doesn't tell you what to read, I don't feel it's the site's place to tell you why to protest.

How can I save my protest plan?

Save the URL of your final plan; you could even bookmark it!

What's the protest score mean?

The protest score, found when building a protest plan, is a rough approximation of your plan's effectiveness in protesting the social network you selected.

Any such attempt to quantify protesting will have shortcomings, but if I know anything, it's that netizens love internet points.

Does Pledge to Protest save info on visitors?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: This is a static site that does not use cookies. It uses Cloudflare to cache the info on edge servers, which means most traffic doesn't hit the original server. It doesn't cache images (which don't respect same-origin policy). It doesn't load javascript from third parties, like share buttons do, for example.

That said, just because this site respects your privacy, others may not. Be wary of your ISP, browser vendor, and any sites you may share protest links on, as you can rest assured most online sites remember and care about what you share.

Just as a good librarian doesn't care what patrons read, this site tries to respect your protesting privacy.

What's with the trademark symbol?

Unfortunately, I'm concerned (ever so mildly) that one of the companies I've listed as a subject of protest on this site will try some legal shenanigans to pry the name away from me. I'm selling stuff under this name online and offline, if you're interested in buying some of said stuff, let me know via the feedback link in the footer.

Spencer Dailey © 2017 - All rights reserved.