Will Vero be the death of Instagram?

Nadja Beschetnikova
February 28, 2018

A new app, called Vero, is actually not so fresh as it seems. Vero, meaning «truth» in Latin, was launched in 2015 by Ayman Hariri, a Lebanese billionaire, and son of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri.

Hariri, who has a net worth of $1.33 billion, according to Forbes, came to the idea, as many startupers, through the personal experience. He wasn’t satisfied with the existing social networks.
But then the app got very little attention and reached No. 45 in the App Store's social networking category, dropping off the charts entirely soon after.
And now suddenly the app is on everyone's lips and smartphones. The app has nearly one million users, having added around 500,000 in the past few days. A huge traffic led to several technical difficulties and crashes, but the social media crowd seems to be bent on migrating to Vero.

There are currently more than 500,000 posts tagged as #Vero on Instagram. Many users are posting screenshots of their new profiles, requesting their followers to find them on Vero. Many influential tweeters and Instagrammers announced they are joining the new network, which sparked, obviously, an interest among their followers and led to the snowball effect.

The philosophy behind the new app seems to touch a sore spot in the modern online world.

"The greatest social network is the one that interacts between people. We’re trying to create one that is the most natural. That is the most sustainable emotionally." Hariri said.

Many social media users are frustrated with the annoying paid ads, bots, fake news, and, first of all, with this new confusing algorithms. Since Instagram rolled out this update last year, the users were so upset they even attempted to return good old days, starting several petitions.
So the main advantage of Vero for those, who are changing sides now, is that its feed is in chronological order and advertisement-free.

Moreover, Vero is trying to combine Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Spotify functionality, allowing to share not only photos but text and URLs, as well as recommendations for music and TV shows.
Currently, sixty eight percent of Vero's users are male, and 50 percent are between 21 and 40 years old.  

Is this a target audience for Hariri? Will there be a battle between Insta-Millennials and Vero-Adults?
Hariri said that Vero’s mission is to humanize online relationships and provide a meaningful way for users to interact with people they know, like, and trust. Everyone who shares these values is welcome.

"I don’t think of it as the world, and I don’t think of it as male, female, or in those kinds of terms. I want to reach people, and when somebody asks me who is your target user, what kind of user do you want using Vero? For me, it’s just people who have passions," Hariri said.

Vero's manifesto and terms forbid the use of bots and fake accounts. You have to sign up with your name, email address, and phone number. The platform allows users to take control of their online persona and seamlessly communicate with members of their network by identifying connections defined as 'Close Friends,' 'Friends,' and ‘Acquaintances’. Content can be limited to these specific relationship groups.

Vero can compete with WhatsApp or Viber too. Using the app, you can send instant, private messages to your connections or a group of connections.

Despite Vero praises privacy as the most important aspect, taking care of what is shared and who it is shared with, many users found pretty suspicious stuff in its Terms&Conditions.  

Accepting Vero’s Terms of Service you enable the app to use all of your content, including your likeness, and everything you upload to your profile, without your permission or knowledge.

But Hariri explained that there’s no need to worry and the clause was just misunderstood. It's for promotional material only and they're not stealing users’ content.

"What’s asked of users is to provide a license to Vero to display your content without them going around saying, 'All users that see my photos need to pay me because it’s my content.’"

Hariri appreciated the feedback and asked his team to update the Privacy Police to make it more clear.

The online community’s opinions are, as usual, divided. Some find it awesome, some express skepticism. Everyone is curious who’ll get more likes in the end.

If you want to join, hurry up. Only first million users can download it for free, and the number of available accounts dwindles.
Details about the following subscription model and fees are unknown yet.