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If you’re a regular user of Instagram, you’ve probably heard of Vero by now. It’s a social media app that promises to deliver a whole new experience to its users—one that’s ad-free and “truly social” and where people don’t feel pressured to share things that others will “like” but instead can be honest about their lives.
Sounds intriguing, right? But before we all get carried away, let’s find out whether Vero can actually deliver on all of these promises.
What Is Vero?
Vero is a social media app created in 2015 by Lebanese billionaire Ayman Hariri (who is also a son of the former Prime Minister of Lebanon). According to Hariri, the inspiration for the app came from the frustration he experienced using other social media platforms like Facebook.
Vero is striving to be less about social media and more about social life, hence encouraging people to be more like they are in the real world. The word “vero” means “truth” in Italian. And who wouldn’t want to see more truth online?
Why Are People Talking About Vero Now?
Good question. Vero surfaced on everyone’s radars in early March when the app experienced a huge jump in downloads, from 150,000 to 3 million. This happened at about the same time people started getting frustrated about Facebook selling their data. For some, it was a wakeup call (or the last straw) that pushed them to stop using Facebook for good. And it looks like a number of them decided to give Vero a try.
At this point, Vero seems like an alternative worth considering. The platform promises its users a more sincere social experience and has at least a few intriguing things to offer. A sleek interface, chronological feeds, and most importantly, the absence of ads.
Add that on top of the app currently being completely free and you’ll find yourself wondering if you should give it a try yourself. However, Vero’s rating on Google Play is currently 3/5, and it’s that low for a number of reasons. We tried Vero out for ourselves, and compiled the various pros and cons to help you decide whether or not it’s worth installing.
What’s Good About Vero
1. Chronologically-Sorted Ad-Free Feed
This is one of the key selling points of Vero. Tired of feeds controlled by algorithms? How about when you search for something on the internet, and it keeps following you on to every social network you use afterwards? Vero’s ambition is to get social networking back to its roots.
2. You Can Sort Your Contacts Into Categories
In real life, you don’t divide your friends only into “friends and followers”. Vero gives its users more space to identify what kind of relationship they have with their connections.
You can sort your contacts into three tiers: close friends, friends, and acquaintances. This division controls “who gets to see what”. That way, you don’t have to worry about handpicking what to share with your connections.
3. The Vero App Is Well-Designed
One more thing that Vero has got going for it is its beautiful design. If nothing else, this aspect makes spending time on Vero aesthetically pleasing.
4. Vero Doesn’t Collect Unnecessary Data
Is this another ambitious promise or the biggest pro Vero could possibly have? Are you bothered by what Facebook does with your data?
According to the app’s developers, Vero “only collects a minimal amount of data about its users, like their names, email addresses and phone numbers, but doesn’t provide data to advertisers or other third parties.”
5. Vero Is Free
In order to not rely on advertisers, Vero is planning to charge users an annual fee (which would be the equivalent of a price of a few cups of coffee per year). However, right now, new users get Vero free for life.
What’s Bad About Vero
Now, if everything about this app was as good as the above, most of your friends would probably already be using Vero. Not to mention, you wouldn’t be reading an article debating whether this app is worth installing. So what are the things to watch out for if/when you decide to switch to Vero?
1. Nobody’s On Vero (Yet)
Imagine a social media platform that sort of lacks the “social” element. That’s what Vero feels like to a new user right now.
When you first register on the app, you get to search for people from your contacts on the network. Only one of my friends was on it, and even their profile didn’t look live. When I tried searching for places and events in my region, I didn’t find many options either. Vero seems to be rather empty even with the number of users it has been adding lately.
2. Sorting Contacts Into Categories Can Be Confusing
I know, we listed this as a pro as well. However, when it comes to actually placing your contacts in one of the three categories, the whole process is kind of confusing and seems unnecessary.
After all, when we’re talking about our online connections, what makes someone an “acquaintance” and not a “friend”. Or even more complicated, what would make you classify someone as a “friend”, but not a “close friend”?
3. Vero’s Terms of Service Are Confusing
We have updated both to clarify.
We appreciate your trust!
— Vero (@verotruesocial) February 23, 2018
During the first leap in user numbers, Vero was heavily criticized for the language it used in its terms of service. While its ToS was in fact very similar to the ToS other social networks use, team Vero had to update and clarify its one in order to calm public fears.
4. It’s Difficult to Delete Your Profile
For some reason, the process of deleting your Vero account is over-complicated. You can do it either by sending a request through the website or by going on the app’s Support section (which ultimately also only sends a “request” in instead of canceling your subscription).
The Verdict: Should You Join Vero?
As much as we’d love to tell you whether you should or should not invest your time and effort into this new social network, we can’t make that decision for you.
With all the ups and downs the app has experienced so far, it’s hard to say whether it will become another Ello (the once next-big-social-network) and disappear without a trace. Or whether it will become the new Instagram in the future.
However, having the pros and cons of Vero laid out in front of you should help you make your own mind up. Just don’t forget that there are plenty of other Instagram alternatives to consider.