Imagine Facebook with neither ads nor data-driven algorithms. Imagine no more, Lebanese entrepreneur Ayman El-Hariri has created it.
Just when companies across the globe spent $41 billion on social media ads last year, this Lebanese entrepreneur claims not to want Big Data to sustain its business model. The son of a late Lebanese Prime Minister assassinated in 2005, and a half-brother of the current Prime Minister Saad El-Hariri, 39-year-old Ayman El-Hariri has launched a new social media platform attempted to take on Facebook.
Jumping from 200,000 users in February, Vero’s got more than 4 million users now. It would take Hariri a while, however, to be able to scale up to Facebook’s popularity who’s got more than 2 billion active users per month and the 800 million on Instagram, which Instagram bought a year ago.
Unlike its rival, Hariri has designed Vero to to allow image sharing without being forced to see ads and without the data-driven algorithms. By that, Vero would hit Facebook in its weakest spot especially after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
However, the social media platform will eventually ask users to pay for subscription. Hariri argues that the fee is there to keep them honest about how Vero gets funded; rather than turning users into products.
Social media platforms that monetize through advertising get slipped in an endless loop of chasing growth by improving their algorithms to develop a "better sense of who you are, probably better than you know who you are, in order to target you for ads," Hariri says.
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