Facebook faces a Bay Area based challenger for social media dominance

LUTZ - If you've been frustrated with all the changes on Facebook lately, you now have an alternative.

A start up company right here in the Bay Area went online Tuesday with a social networking site called Unthink.

The creators say it's the un-Facebook and more.

The promotional videos shown on unthink.com are slick and grabby expressing the disaffection many people feel with Facebook.

A young actress walking down a lower Manhattan street narrates.

"You thought you could own me. You can't own me. Enough with your endless dictating, arrogant attitude. Disrespecting me, imposing your rules on me, moving my things," she scolds.

The video even features a Mark Zuckerburg lookalike who's told, "the gig is up."

"God bless Facebook. Every time they introduce new features there's a user uproar and people realize more and more each time that Facebook's interests are not necessarily aligned with their users," said Spiro Verras, co- founder and chief legal counsel for Unthink.

"In essence, we un-thought existing social media and created an entirely knew foundation with Unthink," said Verras.

On Unthink, users have a suite instead of a page. Tabs take you to sections that provide features akin to Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter all under one user name. Unthink claims your information will not be sold and anything you delete will stay deleted.

A small fee is charged to users that is waived if the user agrees to carry ads on their suite. The twist is that the user chooses which sponsor they want to partner with.

"When they (an advertiser) establish a dedicated relationship with you, that relationship underwrites the cost of your suite so that there's no cost to the user," said Verras.

Unthink is small.-tiny really. Ten people working out of a residential home in Lutz complete with dishes in the sink. And if the mood and imagery of their marketing invokes the Occupy Wall Street movement, it's a coincidence. Verras says the campaign was developed a year ago long before the protest broke out. But they're clearing targeting people who feel existing social media sites have become too corporate and too intrusive.

"The idea however that what websites I visit, what I like, who I"m friends with can be sold by someone troubles me and I think it troubles a lot of people," said Verras.

We've contacted Facebook for a response to some of the criticisms leveled by Unthink and are waiting to hear back as of Friday evening.

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