If you’ve been online in the past week, you’ve definitely heard all about Vero. The social media app that claims to be “true social” offers people the ability to share anything and everything without algorithms or data mining. But controversy over the app’s founder and policies sparked just as promptly as its popularity. So let’s take a closer look at this two-edged social media phenomenon.
Vero was launched by billionaire Ayman Hariri in 2015 and offers people the full social media experience without the ads. The ability to share photos, text, URL’s and recommendations and have control over who will see what makes it an appealing all-round social media app... except for advertisers. This plays well with a lot of people who are frustrated by Instagram’s algorithm and Facebook’s rising problem of advertisements cluttering the news feed. The inability to use paid ads to promote your business puts brands at a disadvantage. Or it could be a push to get creative and come up with a new way of communicating with consumers to stand out in the chronological news feed.
With fame comes controversy. As Vero gains traction, people have started to look into the company, employees and policy and a few things look a bit sketchy. As several of Vero’s developers are Russian, some are worried that the app might try to meddle in politics. This concern of course stems from the accusations against Russia in the last US elections.
Hariri has also received criticism for the policies of his family’s construction company. Thousands of its workers reportedly went unpaid for months as they lived in bad circumstances. Hariri however distances himself from this and denies either of these things are issues for his company Vero.
A third topic that’s sparked concern is Vero’s vague terms of service. On one hand, the app claims “no ownership rights over your user content,” while on the other hand you also have to grant Vero a license to “use, reproduce, modify … your user content.” The fact that you have to submit a request through Vero’s website in order to delete your account and not knowing how long that process will take, doesn’t help.
Will it last?
Over the past few years, we’ve seen similar apps trying to conquer a spot among the social media giants. Ello, Peach, Secret, Meerkat and others gave it a shot but ultimately couldn’t compete. The lack of income from advertisers once they reach a significant amount of users makes it difficult to survive. However people’s frustrations with algorithm-based apps and yearning for an alternate form of social media are very strong.
Even if Vero doesn’t succeed in the end, I believe a new sort of social media platform is bound to revolutionise the market. So should you jump on Vero as a business? I wouldn’t get too caught up. But taking a look won’t hurt. For now, we’ll have to wait and see where this attempt at revolutionising social media will go.
What do you think of Vero? Will it stick and become the next social media giant or will its popularity shrink as quickly as it rose?