WTF Is Vero & Why Did All Your Friends Join Then Leave It So Suddenly?

So... WTF is a "Vero," and why did it blow up, indoctrinate all your friends and then get put on blast so fast?

Well, if you're fluent in Esperanto, you'll know that Vero means "truth." But if you're a social media junkie, you'll know that Vero is essentially one big love child of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram—and it may be your ticket to a more "authentic" social media experience (or a way to escape your less-than-tech-savvy parents and relatives before they catch on). That is, for those who can get past the company's ~shady~ background.

Born in 2015, Vero is not exactly new to the social media game, but it's certainly a fresh face. Just like its competitors, it's a way for users to create and share content while following along with others in their network. NYMag reports that the app snagged the #1 free download spot in the Apple App Store, however, it has now fallen down the charts quite a bit (possibly due to the #DeleteVero movement?)

Regardless, this app is definitely making its rounds, and although it's not quite clear why the app is suddenly so popular three years later, it may be due to some of the features Vero boasts in their Manifesto (not at all ominous.) According to the Manifesto, Vero aims to create an "authentic" social media experience that allows you to "be yourself," no catfish welcome. You can control who sees the content you share, because you can categorize your connections by either close friends, friends or acquaintances. You may also accept followers to your account and follow others. Your feed stops right where you left off, so no wonky algorithms or data mining will toss in posts from over a week ago (ones that you're too afraid to "like" at the risk of emanating stalker-ish vibes).

And perhaps in what is the most exciting aspect of the app for some users, there are no ads. Nada. Don't believe me? Take a look at Vero's business model:

"Unlike most of our competitors, Vero’s business model isn’t based on serving advertisements. As a subscription-based service, our users are our customers, not the product we sell to advertisers. Our subscription model will allow us to keep Vero advertising-free, and to focus solely on delivering the best social experience instead of trying to find new ways to monetize our users’ behavior or tricking them back into the app with notifications."

Refinery29 reports that the first million people to join the Vero app will have access to it for free, and although the number of people joined has currently surpassed a million, Vero has extended their "free for life" offer due to "extraordinary demand."

Okay, so this all sounds pretty great, right? Well, according to NYMag, their digging has uncovered some sketchy fine print in Vero's terms and conditions, along with an even sketchier past from the app's co-founder and CEO Ayman Hariri. Pulling one particularly puzzling (and kind of scary?) quote from the terms and conditions, a user may use Vero if they grant the app “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.” (Uh, come again?)

NYMag assures that although this sounds frightening, Vero is essentially "no more and no less safe than all the other social media platforms you’re already using and considering replacing with Vero."

What is frightening, however, is the fact that CEO Ayman Hariri is currently in the hot seat for the controversy surrounding his family’s Saudi Arabian construction company, where thousands of workers were reportedly unpaid for months and weren't provided with enough food and water, according to Time.

Considering the current social media climate, these changes may just be exactly what all us social media-lovers need in an app. Unfortunately, the reports on Hariri's past are steering plenty of users moral compasses in a different direction. (This is some high-key "milkshake ducking.") 

Amanda is a senior at Carthage College double majoring in Communications and Public Relations. She is originally from Chicago, Illinois, which she can confirm is indeed a windy city. When she's not at cross country or track & field practice, she can be found obsessing over pizza, watching dachshund videos on Facebook, or enjoying the Lake Michigan view on campus. She is also the Editor in Chief for her college's Her Campus chapter, and a Her Campus Editorial Intern.

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