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'Is It Possible This Is Just a Troll to Get People Off Social Media?'

App goes from new Instagram to #DeleteVero in days
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2018 3:48 PM CST
App Goes From New Instagram to #DeleteVero in Days
Vero is suddenly the hottest app around. Somehow.   (Vero)

(Newser) – Is Vero the new Instagram or just another Ello? The social media app launched in 2015 but is suddenly—and semi-mysteriously—blowing up, Time reports. Like Instagram, Vero is centered around sharing photos and videos. But unlike Instagram and its parent company, it presents posts chronologically, not based on what an algorithm thinks you want to see. Vero also doesn't have ads, although that means users will end up paying a regular subscription fee. The company is promising a "more authentic" experience for users. Here's what you need to know about Vero, including why its popularity boom was immediately followed by a #DeleteVero movement:

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  • Vero went from outside the top 1,500 apps on Apple's App Store to its most popular app in a week and was on pace to add 500,000 users in just 24 hours, reports Mashable, which looks at how that's possible. One explanation: the deeply unpopular decision by Instagram last year to implement a post-sorting algorithm.
  • However, that may have marked the high point for Vero. USA Today reports a #DeleteVero movement is already underway based on the app itself, as well as the troubling history of its CEO, described by Twitter users as "awful" and a "scumbag." Unfortunately for them, deleting Vero is easier said than done.
  • CEO Ayman Hariri is a Lebanese billionaire and former deputy CEO of construction company Saudi Oger, the Daily Beast reports. His time at that company featured: more than 31,000 complaints of workers not being paid; unpaid workers living in labor camps; no water, food, or medical care for workers; the Saudi Arabian government being forced to provide food and more to workers. Hariri, whose brother is close to Vladimir Putin, also hired Russian developers to build Vero. A social media vet says "this whole thing is insane."
  • CNN has more on Hariri, including his stated reasons for creating Vero and what he credits for its sudden growth. But it also notes there were at least two riots at Saudi Oger after workers didn't receive paychecks.

  • Vero also has some Hollywood connections. Variety reports director Zach Snyder is a "brand ambassador" and premiered a short film exclusively through Vero. A production company founded by actor Michael Fassbender also has a deal with Vero.
  • As for the app itself, well... Gizmodo reports it doesn't actually work very well, with writer Bryan Menegus unable to upload any photos during an entire week of using it. And that was just the start of his problems.
  • Co.Design had "two resident millennials" try out Vero, only to conclude its "user experience is terrible," including crashes, an inability to save pictures, and a busted search function. They decided Vero "feels like" the kind of app that would sell your information, give your phone a virus, and leak your password onto the dark web. "Is it possible this is just a troll to get people off social media?" one tester asks. They don't see Vero lasting through the spring.
(Read more social media stories.)

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