Social networking came about in the mid to late 1990s and early 2000s as a way to reduce spam and regain control of your online communications, by allowing communications only between friends and or those you approve. It was wildly successful. Unfortunately, if you look at the social networking landscape in 2019, this critical functionality has been lost. Corporate providers consistently fill your stream with unwanted ads and manipulative content.

You may also have heard of free and open social networks like Mastodon or Friendica or Diaspora. Unfortunately every one of these projects allows direct communication to you from anybody in the world. If you block them, they can pop up somewhere else and keep pushing your hot buttons. This takes away your ability to control your communications. At its worst this can be a pathway for bullying, commercial spam, and manipulation; and can create a toxic online environment. Keeping undesired content out of your stream in the first place is the entire reason that social networking software exists. It seems that everybody forgot this important concept in their quest for world domination.

If you wish to take back control of your online communications, you came to the right place.

Zap is a social networking platform built with control of your privacy at center stage. Your online communications can be as public as you wish or as private as you require. Private conversations, private photos, private videos. Your media isn't hidden behind an obscure URL which can be guessed (see fusking), it is protected by state-of-the-art cross-domain authentication. What this all means for you: less drama.

Hyper-drive

A novel Zap feature which is unique to Zotlabs projects is the built-in hyper-drive social engine. This technology is essentially the secret sauce behind Facebook's meteoric growth over a decade ago and this is the first time we've managed to replicate the essential bits using a decentralised protocol. In a nutshell it not only provides an overview of your friends' activities, but also allows you to network with their friends to a limited degree (depending on their own permissions and preferences). How fast can you grow your federated social network?

Zot6 Support

Zap has native support for the Zot6 protocol. The Zot protocol has been in development since 2011 and powers a number of free social network applications and content platforms such as Hubzilla, Osada and 'red'. Zot6 provides nomadic identity which lets you create a mirror of your account on multiple sites in case any one site fails for any reason. Just go to another mirror and carry on. These mirrors are kept up to date with any changes to your profile, settings, content, and connections.

Web Apps

Zap is easy to use and provides a range of features either natively or through standard apps. These include photo albums and file storage managers, events with attendance support, and topical groups, all of which respect your personal access lists (such as Friends, Family, and Co-workers).

Discussion

Privacy Groups

Notifications

App Menu

Photos

Events

File Storage

Wiki

Articles

Get started with Zap

Zap runs under most modern LAMP servers, supporting MySQL or PostgreSQL databases and Apache or Nginx webservers. If you can clone a git repo, configure a domain and install an SSL certificate, and create a cron job, you can start your own hub! There is growing interest in the project and we could use some help spreading the load. We welcome additional public servers.

Learn more...

Join an available public server available if you would like to try Zap without hosting your own server.

A list of these is available here.



Zap runs under most modern LAMP servers, supporting MySQL or PostgreSQL databases and Apache or Nginx webservers. If you can clone a git repo, configure a domain and install an SSL certificate, and create a cron job, you can start your own hub! There is growing interest in the project and we could use some help spreading the load. We welcome additional public servers.

Learn more...

Join an available public server available if you would like to try Zap without hosting your own server.

A list of these is available here.



Free and Open Source

The architecture supports themes and addons and a number of these are available today. Zap is open source under the permissive MIT license and runs on most modern LAMP servers, using MySQL/PostgreSQL and Apache/Nginx. We are passionate about providing ethical and privacy aware decentralised services running on open source platforms.

Get the source code

Discussion

Start a discussion by publishing a post. Comments are delivered from their authors to you, and then are distributed to anyone following the discussion thread across the federated network.

Photos

Attach photos to your posts with a simple drag-and-drop. Uploaded photos are automatically stored in your cloud file storage. Browse your photos organized by albums in the Photos app.

Apps

Zap is a modular and extensible platform. There are apps included in the core system such as the Photos, Files, and Events apps, but other are available as addons (such as the Articles and Wiki apps) that can be installed and enabled by your server admin.

Apps can be enabled and disabled by individual users according to their preferences. Typically apps are accessed via the apps menu, but they can also be pinned to the navbar for more convenience.

Privacy Groups

Zap is built from the ground up with privacy as a central principle. There is a sophisticated permissions system that protects access to your data. You can organize the people you connect with into custom Privacy Groups, allowing you to include only those you wish in a conversation.

You can add and remove contacts from your Privacy Groups at any time, allowing you flexibility in how you control access to your content.

Notifications

Notifications are key to maintaining sanity in your social network. The social hyper-drive engine that Zap uses to help you discover and connect with people can result in a deluge of content in your network stream. The notifications widget allows you to dynamically sort by individual or by new posts, for example. Additional filtering widgets installed by default allow you to view only the discussions in which you are participating, or discussions involving specific Privacy Groups.

Articles

The Articles addon provides a way to publish blog-style posts. Your articles do not propagate to remote servers as normal posts do, and you can assign them page names that allow human-friendly URLs. You can set the access control you want for each article independently (allowing them to be public or private for a select group of people). Comments can be enabled or disabled.

Wiki

The Wiki addon allows you to make multiple wikis, each with their own access control settings. Each of your wikis can have multiple pages, where each page retains a history of revisions. You can revert changes and see a message from whoever made a change explaining what they did. Wikis are a fun and quick way to collaborate on documents and develop ideas.

Files

Zap offers integrated cloud file storage, where each file and folder is protected with permissions that support your privacy needs. Standard WebDAV is also supported, allowing you to mount your cloud storage as a local storage drive using a wide range of available clients. For example, if you use Linux, mounting your cloud storage is as simple as entering davs://your.zap.server/dav/yourname in the file browser and entering your credentials!

Events

Life happens at times and places. Share and coordinate events with the privacy your events require, and view them in a natural way on a calendar view.