Improve Your Productivity With Alternative Social Media Front-ends

Last edited: Jun 12, 2022

Image of people using phones

Why Social Media Apps Use Up So Much Time:

Social media websites and apps are engineered to take more and more of your time in order to increase "engagement" by providing endless scrolling, extraneous notifications, auto-play and other such "anti-features". This can result in lost productivity, and in some cases, damage to mental health. What can someone to mitigate some of these negatives of social media? It is easy to say that one should forgo social media entirely, but there are some undeniable benefits to being able to view health alerts from Twitter, a video on how to fix your bike from Youtube, or connect with an older relative on Facebook.

Many times I have thought to completely delete my social media, and not use time sucking websites like Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram. I have actually tried it a couple of times. However, I always ended back in the cycle of wasting time on these websites as there was always some information that I needed to look at for work, or I realized that was missing out on some important events that were only available on those sites.

How to Fix the Problem:

The answer to some of these problems comes in the form of alternative ways (or front-ends) to view or use these social networks. An alternative front end can take the content from the given website, and present it in a more privacy focused or less distracting way. Alternative front ends are not designed to keep you using them as long as possible. Because of this, you can reclaim some of the time used (and usually your personal data and privacy as well). I have also found that using a desktop site to access social media has benefits in that you aren't always tied to a laptop as you are a cell phone. This means that you won't have an endless feed of social media notifications trying to distract you.

The main source that I have used to find these tools is this Github repo: You should use this as a reference if some of these projects go offline, or if you find some of your own and want to contribute.

An All in One Solution with PrivacyRedirect:

If you want the simplest solution to use alternative front-ends, this Chrome/Brave extension will take care of all of the details for you.

Privacy Redirect on Chrome Web Store

Note: Apparently this version has not been updated in a while. The new recommended fork of this project called libredirect can be found here but it must be installed manually for Google Chrome: libredirect

Image of LibRedirect

You can select which websites to use alternative front-ends for, and it will automatically pick a random instance to avoid overloading a particular instance.

There are options for Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, and Google maps. If you select those options, any time that you click a link, it will automatically open that link within one of the alternative front-ends.

Individual Front-Ends:

Below are some alternative front-ends if you want to access them directly. These are only the ones I have used heavily recently and by no means a definitive list.

Honorable Mentions:

Hopefully with some of these alternative front ends, you can take back some of your privacy and personal time. If you have any more app or alternative front end suggestions, please comment them and I will check them out!