Is this private photo-sharing app the next Instagram?

Person using Bokeh on a mobile. [Image: Bokeh]

When it comes to getting your name out there and sharing your work, social media is one of the most powerful tools at a creator's disposal. And among these platforms, Instagram is on the rise. There are plenty of amazing Instagram design feeds to follow.

Nothing's perfect though, and that includes Instagram. Despite the editing tools and customisable fonts for Instagram, the platform isn't for everyone. Enter Bokeh, a crowd-funded photo-sharing app that aims to be a private and ad-free Instagram alternative.

Built by Tim Smith, Bokeh fixes some of the common issues people have with social media networks. Namely, their habit of mining user data and using that to hit us with uncannily accurate targeted ads, as well as not displaying updates chronologically.

Bokeh displayed on a mobile device

Users are in control of who adds them [Image: Bokeh]

These are all issues a lot of social media users are aware of, but are at their mercy because there simply aren't many alternatives. Besides, of course, the unthinkable: logging out of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram forever.

Privacy, however, is at the heart of Bokeh. The app will be private by default, and users will have the option of going public and cross-posting on other social media networks. On top of being able to support custom domains, Bokeh will also have an indie web compatible export. This means that Bokeh users will be able to self-host if they so wish.

So how does this privacy look in action? For starters, people won't be able to track Bokeh users down by typing their name into a search bar. Instead, they will need to know their username. And in a similar move to Instagram's recent decision to hide the number of 'likes' on a post, Bokeh will never publically display who you follow, or vice versa.

Bokeh displayed on a mobile device

Special users can be added to an inner circle of friendship [Image: Bokeh]

Pests are also put in their place. If a user repeatedly tries to request your friendship after you've denied them, they will be blocked after three rejections. Advertisers and venture capitalists are also kept at bay thanks to Bokeh's policy of never sharing or selling user data to them.

However this privacy comes at a price. Individual accounts will set a user back $3 a month, or $30 a year. Meanwhile a family account, which can be populated with up to five members, comes to $5 a month or $50 a year. Paying for social media is always going to be an unpopular decision, but can you put a price on your privacy?

Bokeh is currently in the final stretch of its Kickstarter fundraising drive. It's not far off its target, so if this is a project you'd like to get involved with, make sure you head over and chip in. If it hits its goal, Bokeh expects to roll out in late 2019.

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Dom Carter

Dom Carter is a freelance writer who specialises in art and design. Formerly a staff writer for Creative Bloq, his work has also appeared on Creative Boom and in the pages of ImagineFX, Computer Arts, 3D World, and .net. He has been a D&AD New Blood judge, and has a particular interest in picture books.