A new ad-free and privacy-focused social network called Ello has risen dramatically in popularity in recent weeks. In the wake of Facebook enforcing its “real name” rule and inadvertently alienating members of the LGBT community, Ello made a point to welcome those who left Facebook over the issue.
Though the invite-only site was only created in July, it’s popularity has reached astronomical heights, with over 27,000 requests to join the site pouring in every hour. Invites to the site are even being sold over eBay, and though the whole website briefly crashed (it’s still technically in beta mode), the fact remains that many social media users are desperate for a more private, more socially-conscious alternative to Facebook.
“Virtually every other social network is run by advertisers. Behind the scenes they employ armies of ad salesmen and data miners to record every move you make. Data about you is then auctioned off to advertisers and data brokers. You’re the product that’s being bought and sold,” Ello said in its manifesto. “[Their practices] are both creepy and unethical. Under the guise of offering a ‘free’ service, users pay a high price in intrusive advertising and lack of privacy.”
Ello also notably said it will take a zero-tolerance policy toward all trolling, threatening or abusive behavior on the site, another apparent dig at Facebook, which often faces criticism for the content it allows to live on its site. It remains to be seen whether Ello will last for the long haul or become just another flash in the pan, though one thing is clear: if presented with a good alternative, many people are interested in leaving Facebook.