[Updated] Vero, the new Social Media kid on the block

Last three days the regular Social Media platforms have been abuzz with people hopping on the Vero bandwagon. What is this ‘Vero’ you may ask? Well, it’s some new Social Media platform trying to take the ‘media’ out of Social Media by removing advertisements and algorithms and putting what your friends post back up front. Time to check out what all the fuzz is about…

UPDATE: read this before you hop on!

Since Vero has become all the hype in recent weeks and everyone is jumping onto it so I think it’s important to tell all of you also about some dark sides of Vero and more specifically the people behind it, before you hop on.

First of all there’s Vero’s CEO Ayman Hariri, who turns out to belong to a family of rather questionable reputation. His father, and after that his brother, have been prime ministers of Lebanon and have excelled mainly in one thing particularly: in getting filthy rich. This Hariri family has (or had I must say) a large building contractor company called Saudi Oger that went bankrupt last year. A company that kept over 2000 unpaid workers in slave-camps near Riyad, as came to light in 2016. It’s unclear to what extent Ayman was involved in this, but this should at least raise eyebrows…

Fact number will scare many people away usually: their developers team appears to be of almost exclusively Russian nationality. If anything, it doesn’t help feel trusted among westerners. I must say it doesn’t have me too impressed personally, since Russians are usually good devs, and Telegram is also Russian, and is widely used.

Then there’s their TOS (Terms Of uSe). And like before with Insta and Facebook, people are making too big of a point over this. If you read well enough, you should conclude that it’s much more about accountability than about ‘owning’ your stuff:

โ€˜In accordance with your choice of the privacy settings offered by the Service, by posting or otherwise making available any User Content on or through the Service, you hereby grant, and you represent and warrant that you have all rights necessary to grant, to Vero a limited, royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, worldwide license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, list information regarding, translate, distribute, syndicate, publicly perform, publicly display, make derivative works of, or otherwise use your User Content, including (without limitation) your name, voice, and/or likeness as it is contained within your User Content, in whole or in part, and in any form, media or technology, whether now known or hereafter developed.โ€™

[Quote from this dutch article in Tijd]

The third account of bad news was a much more nasty one: once you were in, you couldn’t get out easily by deleting your profile (for instance, after reading up on all the bad news). The setting to do so was hidden deeply in the app, and even after you’ve found it, you’d find out that it merely sends a request to delete your Vero account, that is PENDING APPROVAL! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
Thankfully this has by now been addressed with one of the recent app updates and you can now delete your profile from the profile settings page, so this link down here becomes somewhat superfluous.

If you want to delete your account (if you already had one) after reading this, go here to read how: Mashable –ย Here’s how to delete your Vero account

But maybe, this story needs some nuance too.ย Vero’s CEO Ayman Hariri wasn’t the CEO of Saudi Oger, although he had a position there, when all the bad stuff happened over there, so it is not really clear how much he is to blame. And when it comes to privacy the likes of Google and Facebook (who both own practically every other social medium out there) haven’t exactly been behaving exemplary in the past either.

So… I’m not immediately deleting my Vero account after this info, but I’ll be more critical going forward and I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you want to join Vero after reading this. So far, I still like it a lot and it offers me what I’m really looking for in a social network (apart from Twitter) ๐Ÿ™‚

Continue here with my original story:

Vero: True Social Media

Vero promises a Social network being truly social and leaving out the ‘Media’. With Media they mean the known big news outlets, advertisers and-what-not that most of us don’t actually want to see in our timelines. So Vero promises a feed with no ads and no algorithms that f*** up the chronological order of things. A welcome prospect for anyone who’s fed up with the current crop of ‘Social’ Media…

No ads? Then what’s the business model you ask? Vero explains in it’s manifest that it wants to be a subscription service, so you ARE actually the customer and not the product on their platform. Sounds like really good news, especially for the first 1 million users who will get a lifetime free subscription, so this might at the same time explain why Vero has all of a sudden gone viral in recent weeks and has seen an insane surge in new users.
But there is a parallel business model as well; Vero will offer in-app shopping (of whatever stuff, and who’s offering it, is not yet very clear) and charge the selling party with a small fee. All this seems like a legitimately sound business model for this new platform, and it might as well succeed at that!

I haven’t really been able to uncover what Vero’s inception date was, but they seem to go back to the beginning of 2016-ish. But recently some major blogs (like Dutch Cowboys for example) have picked up on Vero and the flow of new users is now so big, that the app and their servers have some serious trouble keeping up with the extra traffic.

So, what does it do?

Well, basically everything that all other social media sites do: you can share stuff with your connections and they can like that or respond to it. The main difference her being that you can share almost anything, from Youtube movies, to books, to music, to website links, etc. Another nice perk is the fact that you can maintain three circles of connections (close friends, friends and acquaintances) and on top of that you can simply ‘follow’ other accounts.
What’s also very different is the design of the app; it looks a lot like Microsofts ‘fluent design’ from the forthcoming RS4 Windows release, which means it goes heavy on things like blurred backgrounds and wireframe icons. It also is quite ‘dark’ themed taking on colour-accents from the post you just made.

To get a really good impression, it’s maybe best to have them explain things themselves:

Since I’m a techie and ‘early adopter’ is my middle name, I gave it a go and downloaded the app! It’s available on Android and iPhone of course and you’ll find the links below. So, see you there? ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Android app:

Vero - True Social
Vero - True Social
Developer: Vero Labs, Inc.
Price: Free

I’m not sure why this Store link seems broken all of a sudden, but just click on “go to store” and you will still get to the Vero app entry ๐Ÿ™‚

The iOS app:

โ€ŽVERO - True Social
โ€ŽVERO - True Social
Developer: Vero Labs Inc
Price: Free