Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. You most likely use one of these social media networks on a daily basis. And what else do you need? Social media gives you the promise of staying in touch with friends and family from all over the world. Why is it then, that Facebook user numbers drop with millions every year? Is it because we get annoyed by the data that is being sold, or do we desire a more social social network?
Maybe it is time for a brand new start, a new social network. A safe place where data won’t be sold. Where strange algorithms are non-existent, but where recommendations of your friends play the biggest role. A timeline without adds. Sounds like a great plan. Vero thought so too.
No adds, no data mining and no algorithms
Creating a new network
Vero is an app that was established in 2015. It was created out of frustration with the top five social media networks. The creators found that it was very hard to actually be social on Facebook or other platforms and realised that friends acted differently on social media apps than in real life. They wanted to create a platform that showed the truth. Hence the name Vero, derived from the Latin word for truth. Vero promotes it’s app with three catchy promises, that were supposed to change the social media landscape forever: “No adds, no data mining and no algorithms”.
The excitement that was Vero
It sounded very promising, but it didn’t get popular until three years later, in 2018, when it was ranked number one in the US App store. In just one week, three million users wanted to be part of the experience and the excitement that was Vero. What appealed mostly to people was the unlimitedness of the app. Pictures didn’t have to fit a frame and users were able to post URL links. It was a platform for people to discuss books and art, to post your creations and to share with your real friends. The catch was the subscription fee that you had to pay each year to get an account, but at least that meant: no adds, no data mining. Like Snapchat, it was expected that Vero would become a successful new social media platform.
With three million users across the world, chances are that you find yourself with one or two friends on Vero. This became a problem. A scarcely filled timeline is not something anyone would gladly waste their time on. Adding to that, users soon found a copyright statement, saying that all posts, likes and votes would be owned by Vero. Naturally, users weren’t too happy about this and started deleting their accounts.
These problems combined were the perfect recipe for Vero’s downfall
However, searching for the ‘delete my account’ button, users would find themselves staring at the user’s guide with no clue where to look. It turned out that people had to send an email to Vero with a request of removal. Besides, Vero got a lot more attention from the media than they wanted and than they could handle. These problems combined were the perfect recipe for Vero’s downfall.
Thank u, next
Vero disappeared quicker than it appeared, while Facebook is still standing strong. It turns out that a new social media network has to have a better plan than just not selling data. When searching for articles on Facebook quitters, the first five pages were filled with the perks of quitting for your mental health and nothing about the data mining and selling which Facebook does.
Maybe Vero overestimated the power of “No adds, no data mining and no algorithms”. Maybe Facebook users are used to “adds, data mining and algorithms”. This is a problem on its own, but all we know now is that Vero’s popularity taught us to think twice before joining an up-and-coming, too good to be true, new social media network.
Cover: Unsplash/Alexa Suter / Final Editor: Ivo Martens