Diaspora sister site, Makr, launches with Facebook integration (updated)

The founders of the social network once touted as the “anti-Facebook” have a new creation for you make that new silly LOLcat you found or crazy celebrity pic go viral.

Makr, a newly-launched image remixing website, is the creation of two of the original founders of Diaspora, Daniel Grippi and Maxwell Salzberg. When hopes were high, Diaspora raised $200,000 on Kickstarter and was recognized for its high-minded ideals of open web standards and user privacy. The four founders frequently lambasted sites like Twitter and Google in the press for giving away users’ personal data.

“For some strange reason, everyone just agreed with this whole privacy thing,” Daniel Grippi, one of Makr’s creators once pointed out in an interview with the New York Times.

Users can sign up to Makr via Facebook to upload photos, add captions, and publish content to friends’ news feeds. The site is targeted to those who like to “lolz” a lot on the Internets, you’re encouraged to compete on who can come up with the most hilarious image captions.

The founders say they’ve been using the site to have fun with friends, but they explain on the company blog that they hope it will spark a creative conservation on the web. The idea came a week after the founders learned the tragic news that their cofounder, Ilya Zhitomirskiy, had committed suicide.

Salzberg and Grippi describe their new startup as an open-source “sister project”, and say they will continue working on Diaspora. Makr is part of the current class at Y Combinator, the highly competitive startup accelerator that will host its highly anticipated demo day next week.

In his own words, this is how Salzberg describes the differences between the two sites:

Makr is us playing with a problem we discovered as we worked on D* (Diaspora) codebase the last two years; that people don’t really understand what their data means. We actually started working on the core of Makr inside of Diaspora, and when came to YCombinator they recommended that we pull it out and let Makr be it’s own thing. 

At our core, Diaspora is about giving people ownership of your data, in any way necessary. Something like Makr is important in giving people a tool to be creative and care about what they are doing online, and think its a vital step towards us being the change we want to see in the world.

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