Instagram clone Vero attempts to rewire social media back to basics
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are still the most sought after social media networks. But the constant flurry of advertisements and user information they seek make them a privacy risk. They are also heavily driven by algorithms which allow little control to users over their feeds.
New York-based Vero Labs is offering users an alternative in the form of Vero, a social media app which doesn’t show ads and charges an annual subscription fee to stay afloat. The app was released in 2015, but interest in it was revived only recently after it reportedly completed 3 million downloads and shot to the top of the App store and Play Store.
According to Vero’s official website, the first 1 million users will be exempted from the subscription and will enjoy the app and all its features free for life. Vero hasn’t announced the subscription amount yet, but has assured that it will be nominal.
Vero is a photo- and video-sharing platform, similar to Instagram. However it provides users the option to set connection into three different categories— close friends, friends/acquaintances and followers. While uploading a photo or video, the app provides users the option to highlight the category which can access the shared content. Instagram allows users to make their posts visible to all or only to approved users in the private account.
All posts are arranged as collections of photos and show in a chronological order chosen by the user, unlike Instagram where algorithms decide the order of the feeds based on what it thinks a user wants.
Even before the app could threaten Facebook or Instagram, it has been mired in a controversy involving its co-founder Ayman Hariri’s stint as CEO of a Saudi Arabia-based construction company, Saudi Oger Ltd. According to a Bloomberg report, the company shut down in September due to mismanagement, leaving thousands of workers unpaid. An online campaign #DeleteVero, urging users to delete the app, is up on Twitter.
In an official statement, Vero Labs claims that “Ayman has had no operational, management or board oversight of Saudi Oger since 2013.”
At the heart of Vero and its popularity is the attempt to protect users’ privacy and make the social media app simpler. The no ads policy and the freedom from data mining are steps in the right direction.
A recent report by eMarketer, which claims that 2.8 million users under 25 left Facebook for other social media apps in 2017, suggests that users are looking for simpler and less intrusive social media apps.
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