Is Hive really a Twitter alternative?

Who will replace Twitter? Mastodon has been thinking of itself as an alternative since 2016. But there is another challenger since 2019, which has been making a lot of noise lately: Hive Social. But negative feedback needs caution.

1,000,000 besties and the number keeps growing! “. On November 21, 2022, the Hive Social Twitter account published a tweet full of fun. ” Thanks to everyone who followed us, joined, shared their posts and profiles […] and generally gave us incredible support », Can we read the message?.

Never heard of Hive Social? This is not surprising. This is a relatively young social application, the foundations of which date back to October 2019 – with the release of an iOS application. On the official website, however, Hive Social has set the debut of the service in June 2019, with the launch of development.

The app is beautiful. But it is still far from complete, according to some Internet users. // Source: HiveSocial

An app between Twitter and Instagram

But since November, Hive Social has been getting a lot of attention, not for its own merits, but because Twitter has been going through a violent phase of turmoil since Elon Musk took over the community site. This anxiety also benefits others: Mastodon, a free and decentralized social network, also benefits from a relative exodus of Internet users.

Hive Social app
The mobile interface. // Source: HiveSocial

Today, many are thinking of leaving Twitter for an alternative: because Musk’s personality is too divisive, because Twitter can disappear, because the return of controversial accounts is not pleasing. Excuses vary. But as you need to have a clear view of Mastodon’s strengths as well as weaknesses, Hive Social also has its flaws.

The sudden attention on Hive Social has resulted in some comments on Twitter for point out the characteristics of the service, and what pleases, but also what is wrong. For example, Hive Social is described as a kind of cross between Twitter (we post statuses), Instagram (we share photos) and Curious.cat (we answer questions that are asked of us).

The interface is quite nice, it is colorful, there are tabs to find the latest trends, publications that should match us or sections by theme. There are also notifications you can activate. The application also provides new features — such as a musical profile — and presents itself as a welcoming, inclusive and protective place.

A good app, but not only that

But other internet users also within limits which is almost unbearable for a service launching in 2022. An example? Strong authentication, which consists of securing access to your account with a second code in addition to the password, does not exist with Hive Social. However, this feature is common and greatly improves account protection.

Another weakness: private messages is not end-to-end encrypted (which is also not the case for Twitter and Mastodon), potentially exposing them to outside scrutiny. Here again, the trend is more towards encryption everywhere: Signal and WhatsApp have it by default. And for a long time, Messenger, Instagram or Twitter will be on this trajectory.

A problem of duplicate identifiers.

The absence of a data protection officer is also highlighted, although this is a requirement set by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Another drawback: the lack of a web version of Hive Social. Everything goes through one application, on Android and iOS. This may be less critical than other points, but this hole is noticed.

On iOS, critics also noted the broad permissions that Hive Social allows, by requesting access to all photos on the smartphone. On Android, these permissions are not exposed during installation and registration. The app is still in beta and faces various bugs — a problem that can also be seen on iOS, despite the older development.

In a further sign of a project that is far from complete, Hive Social, for example, admitted a problem with duplicate identifiers of new accounts – identifiers that must be unique, unlike pseudonyms that can be changed. The identifier should make it possible to distinguish the accounts between them, so as not to mistake the interlocutor.

Hive Social indicates areas of improvement that it should follow.

Hive Social had this problem, which was accepted by the service on November 19. “People forced their way into the system while we were offline and used a backdoor method to get in,” the site wrote on Twitter. A promise was made to solve these unwanted duplicates: the generation of a number at the end of the identifier is a track.

The list of blames could go on for a while. In this other thread, Ricky Mondello, a software engineering manager at Apple who specializes in the authentication process, pointed out the somewhat sketchy operation of password creation in Hive Social. It also lacks support for special characters.

The overall impression is that Hive Social is far from complete — like this other exchange between an Internet user and the application on a problem about finding contacts, possibly linked to the use of capital letters or to a bug that appeared when the application was temporarily offline. Therefore, the idea of ​​making it a major alternative to Twitter seems premature.

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