Hubzilla & Streams

I am curious if Hubzilla and Streams would qualify as a privacy-enabled social media platform.

For full disclosure, I am not part of either of those projects, however I have started creating themes and addons for their platforms and am using their software to power my websites and social media presence.

Privacy Features:

  • You can decide who sees your posts, content, files, and images. You do not have to post publicly.
  • You can create private discussion groups and determine who can participate.
  • Communications are encrypted between servers.
  • You do not have to provide information about your real identity to create an account.
  • You can create and post under multiple aliases or channels.
  • You can self-host, making you the administrator.
  • The software is open source, so you do not have to identity yourself to download the software.
  • If you communicate with others who self-host, then only the recipients have access to the communications (unless you make it public).
  • Individual posts can be encrypted in the database and require a passcode to unlock. Administrators cannot read these posts unless you give them the passcode.


  • Anything you post publicly will obviously not be private.
  • Normal posts are stored unencrypted in the database, unless you manually lock the post with a passcode. Posts locked with a passcode are encrypted in the database.
  • Most privacy features only work with Hubzilla, Streams, and their forks. They do not work when federated with other platforms through ActivityPub, such as Mastodon. For example, encrypted posts on Hubzilla cannot be read on Mastodon, so if you send a DM or post to a Mastodon user, it will be in plain text in both databases even though it is encrypted in transit.

Secure: Hubzilla and Streams were built with security in mind, and the developers tend to prioritize security and privacy over other features.

Source Availability: Hubzilla and Streams are both open source. Hubzilla is MIT licensed, and Streams is public domain, but includes libraries that are licensed under various FOSS licenses.

Cross-Platform: There are currently two projects that are compatible with each other: Hubzilla and Streams. They have different head developers, but they do collaborate and often backport code into each other’s project. Since they are open source, they can be forked.

Active Development: Both projects are actively being developed.

Usability: You don’t have to be that technical to sign up for an account on a public hub (open instance). If you self-host, it is a little more technical, but that applies to any software that you self-host.

Documented: Documentation is included with the code, and is available in the build-in help system, although it can get a little technical. There currently is an initiative to make more documentation and make it less technical-sounding.

Security Audit: I am not directly involved in the projects, so I am not sure if anything like this was done.

What problem does it solve?

It gives you an alternative to social media, and gives you privacy options the competing platforms do not have.

It enables you to participate in social media either publicly or privately, and you can share posts, content, files, and images with others privately. It also allows you to encrypt your posts so that even an administrator cannot read it without the passcode.