A TINY village has spurned Facebook to become 'the first in the UK' to set up its own social network.

Blewbury near Didcot has launched its own app and hopes to inspire other villages in the local area to set up their own online communities to wrestle back control from Silicon Valley giants.

Created with media company Disciple - who has built similar networks for the Rolling Stones and Matt Hancock MP - the Blewbury app allows residents to share news updates, comment and message each other.

Matt Phillips, an entrepreneur and Blewbury resident, came up with the idea because he resented the control Facebook has over who gets to see what in the newsfeed.

Changes made by the company earlier this year mean that group posts are rarely seen by others unless they are paid for.

The misuse of data from profiles and an increasingly ageing user-base are other reasons why people are moving off Facebook, according to Mr Phillips.

He said: "You could say it’s a fool’s errand to take on Silicon Valley, but  Facebook is designed for advertisers, not communities.

"You’re competing  with the rest of the internet in your newsfeed and miss the things that  matter.

"We want to create a focal point for campaigning and fundraising  for things like our new village hall, so I hope the Blewbury app can help us do that."

The village, which had a population of 1,581 people at the last census, has had its own print newsletter for more than 50 years as well as various Facebook groups, a website and email updates.

The new social network hopes to bring everything together and create a single focal point for community interaction.

It will be self-moderating, with people required to identify themselves by their real names, to limit the chances of online abuse and internet trolls.

The app has initially been funded by people in the village but in the future partnerships may be formed with local businesses to help to cover costs long term.

While most social networks aim to expand to connect people all over the world, this one will intentionally stay within the village boundaries but Mr Phillips says any other village or group can set up something similar.

He said: "We 100 per cent see this as something that can be done elsewhere.

"We want to set an example and show how any other group can do the same.

"It only launched last week and already about a tenth of the  population have signed up just through word of mouth - I’ve been amazed  by the response.

"The Blewbury app is a better version of Facebook built  specially for our community, minus the adverts and privacy concerns. ”