Vero True Social ~ It’s time to do a little investigating.

Well Howdy Lovely Folks, and welcome to a rainy Bank Holiday in Great Britain.

(And if you don’t live here, there are specific Mondays each year that are public holidays, and it generally rains. Like always. You can set your watch by it.)

Anyways, moving on. A few weeks back my attention was captured by a ‘brand new’ social media app that wasn’t like the others; it was shiny and new, and didn’t have ads and let the feed run chronologically… Sounds like The Dream doesn’t it?

And the name of this new nirvana, was Vero True Social. So you can bet your last glass of wine that I hotfooted it over there and got myself an account, while my name was still available. While it was still free. While it was still new…

I shared a link to other, generic, old, not so fabulous social media (i.e. Facebook and Twitter… ) to see if others had migrated. And that’s when blade fell.

It would seem that Vero was the root of all evil. It was being bank rolled by BIG money, the developers hadn’t been paid, and it owned absolutely everything you posted, including your voice and your image!

Twitter users were stirring up storm, urging people to leave while they still could. Lawyers and journalists alike were posting like crazy, to get out. ‘Get Out, Now!’

And in the mix of it all, it turned out the app couldn’t handle the sheer number (under a million) of people trying to signup. It was crashing and lagging, and the villagers were readying their pitch forks and lighting their torches, and so I sadly let the dream of a social media platform with no ads, and posts that appeared in order (!) die. Twas a tragedy.

And then, a funny thing happened. Facebook exploded into the headlines with the Cambridge Analytica Scandal. The menace that is ‘Social Media’ was once again everywhere we looked. There were posts about How to delete Facebook, How to absolutely delete Facebook, How to really, definitely, delete Facebook and make sure that you’d taken all your data back too… (People really believed they could do this… truly. *head desk*) And a few people probably shut their accounts — but no-one I knew. It seemed that Facebook was such an integral part of the lives of Generation X, that the fact it probably helped to rig a US election, and sway the British vote to Leave the EU didn’t matter.

So on the back of a such a revelation, my guilt abated some, and my dream of an ad free, in order, social media slowly began to rise from the ashes.

It was time to dig out the deerstalker and find out if I could have Vero and keep my conscience intact. It was time… for Research.

And here’s what I have; Vero has been running for a couple of years with low user numbers — under 300,000 in fact. But in early February it got some traction on Instagram, and shortly after was recommended by Gary Vaynerchuk – and if you don’t know who he is, he has 1.7+ million followers on Twitter, and 3.1 million followers on Instagram. He also invests in Twitter, Snapchat and Uber. (And no, I can’t tell you how many people he has on snapchat cos I’m old, and I don’t have it. 😉 )

Once Vero got the thumbs up from him, everyone sat up and took notice. So I could let my conscience off the hook a teeny-tiny bit. Maybe there weren’t High-rollers banking him??

Now-then, onto the whole ‘he didn’t pay the developers of the app’ argument.

This is slightly more complicated – firstly, it’s completely wrong. He did pay the app developers. That was just chinese whispers social media style, completely missing the actual truth.

The truth is worse – The founder of Vero, Ayman Hariri, is part of a family construction company, who didn’t pay thousands of Filipino workers and left them stranded in Saudi for over two years. Unable to work or go home.

Vero is now completely dead to me, so dead that I’m now going to tell everyone to boycott it… Except things aren’t cut and dried. The company was being run by someone else, Saudi had a new Crown Prince who changed all the rules, and the construction company went bust too. (This article is the most concise on the topic.) Now I’m kind of reading between the lines; most CEO’s have a backstory, the same as most people… (And the workers did get to go home, and the Saudi government had a lot more to do with it.)

But even having more fact, and both sides of the story, and all that twaddle… Surely I’m not going to use Vero when they own everything I post, including my likeness and my voice! Why, I could wake up to find they’ve cloned me!

(Which in truth, wouldn’t be too bad, you know, I could use the help. But anyway…) 

And that’s the thing with Vero’s CEO, he makes himself available, and he’s answering all the difficult questions. Could they be lies? Sure. But politicians lie to us everyday, and we let that slide. The whole terms of use thing, means the app can allow everyone to share data for the purposes of the app. And even if there wasn’t small print in the terms of service, it didn’t stop Facebook selling off all our data, did it?  (Mashable have a great article on this, btw.)

So there it is. I’m off to Vero. Do come find me 🙂

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