You will have heard about the terrible practice of social media companies Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Other for-profit corporations are no better: LiveJournal, MySpace, VKontakte.

So: how do you escape from their clutches? If your entire social internet life plays on those social media, and all your friends are there, and all your entertainment comes from there, and all your email subscriptions and services run through there?

Well. You can do what I did: quit.

You may want to back up everything you wrote, first. You may want to discard everything you wrote. You may want to saveguard a bunch of things and discard the rest.

But first, you need to ascertain what it is that those companies provide. Because you'll need to find substitutions.

For instance: are you playing games that require you to log in via Facebook or Google, and offer no log-in of their own? You may want to set up an alternate game account just for that purpose. But what you should do is contact the game producer and inform them that you won't be spending time and money on their game anymore, unless they allow for a non-Facebook and non-Google log-in.

Do you have many files and photos backed up into Google Drive, because it is (mostly) free and came pre-configured with your mobile phone? You may want to find an alternate place to store those. You may want to find an alternate cloud back-up that connects to your phone. How about NextCloud? MyCloud? Wasabi?

Did you register with all kinds of services with your GMail account? I did. My GMail account is over a decade old. So you'll need a separate email account that is not tied to your internet provider. One that offers full encryption and isn't hosted in the USA. How about ProtonMail? And then one by one move over your registrations. And you probably know GMail currently offers you 16GB of storage for your mail and Drive files combines? That's a lotta mail to wade through. Some of you keep everything. You'll have to migrate your mail to an alternate mail server, and if none of the available services offer that much storage, you'll have to archive it. Where will you put it? Well: do consider writing it to CD: chances are things you haven't touched for a year don't need to be readily available.

And all your friends? Those whose lives you are used to watching via various social media?

You could tell them that you're moving. Some of our friends did. I did. And you'll find that many other people are adverse to change. This is normal. To be expected. You may find this a breaking point. That is the strength of the corporate social media. That's what they count on: social pressure.

You could move to a different social medium. One that isn't run by a for-profit business. One that isn't intent on taking your private information and your wants and needs to sell that to the highest-bidding advertiser or political influencer. Consider the Fediverse: Pleroma, Mastodon, etc.

And what about your favorite discussion forum? Does that require a Facebook / Google log-in? You could move to a different platform. One where you can continue to chat with people about topics of interest. Consider IRC: irc.freenode.net. Currently it has 125 servers, spread around the world.

And if you're tired of advertising throwing up paywalls everywhere you turn, consider obtaining your information needs from an older, pre-Web platform named Gopher. It's still active. There's servers that let us create personal spaces for free. Text based, though you can set them up to show off your image, video, and audio galleries.

It will take planning. It won't be easy. Your "friends" are going to complain despite you giving them advance notice.

If you're going to undertake this journey, please share your experiences?