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Vero is a social networking application based around user-paid subscription as oppose to advertisements, making it an alternative to sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Vero was founded in 2013 by Ayman Hariri, Motaz Nabulsi and Scott Birnbaum.
The app launched on July 28th, 2015, promising an alternative to social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and declaring itself the "relationship-first" social network.
Ayman Hariri, CEO and Co-Founder of Vero, said, "In a world where you are what you post, Vero serves the needs and desires of people who want a safe, genuine reflection of their real-life relationships in an online setting. We have created a platform where users can express themselves in the most natural way possible."
During the week of February 26th, 2018, Vero became the number one downloaded app in the app store. During the week of February 26th, Vero experienced a surge of users, which has slowed and sometimes stalled the service for many users.
In a tweet on the 26th, the company apologized for the slowdown. They wrote, "We apologize for the late update. We are scaling our servers to meet the increasing demand. We appreciate your continued patience while we work to restore service." The post (shown below) received more than 400 retweets and 3,400 likes. As a result of the slowdown, the company extended their free lifetime subscription offer.
Unlike other social network sites, Vero calls itself the "relationship-first" network. Therefore, the site aims to operate in a similar way to offline interactions. Essentially, the app gives users features like other social networking applications but without some of the features people are critical of, such as advertisements, Instagram's algorithm and Twitter's harassment issue.
Users also allow an easy way to set up filters for their friends. The app gives them four designations: acquaintance, friend, close friend, and follower. This allows users to control how big of an audience can see their content.
Many of the basic options for sharing videos, pictures and text posts are available without the algorithm found on Instagram, so users see their news feed in chronological order.
Additionally, people are able to host creator pages and market places on Vero. Users can buy right from the site using such services as Apple Pay.
For the first million users, Vero is free. The CEO Ayman Hariri has said that there will be an annual subscription fee, which is waved for the one million early adopters.
On February 26th, 2018, Twitter user @pasql posted a Twitter moments page questioning some of the intentions of the site, calling the site a "sketchy social network." Their initial post in the Moment featured a gif of crab with the head of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the caption "🤔 VERO is built by a squad of Russian Developers FYI." The post (shown below) received more than 840 retweets and 1,300 likes and seems to imply that the site might be a part of a similar cyber warfare technique as Russia's interference in the 2016 United States presidential election.
The following day, on February 27th, Twitter user @johnsonave posted a screen-capture of an article outlining some of the previous business practices of Hariri. They captioned the post, "
In light of finding out about Vero’s CEO’s history of engaging in human trafficking practices, I’ve decided to delete the app. As I learned at the @UN last week, the only way I can personally stop human trafficking from occurring is with my time and spending power." The post (shown below, left) received more than 40 retweets and 30 likes in 24 hours.
Later that day, Twitter user @BISHART tweeted a link to a Reuters article about some of the Hariri's practices as CEO of Saudi construction company. They wrote, "This just in… The company behind your new favorite terrible app, @verotruesocial abandoned Saudi workers without pay. Apparently refusing to pay months of unpaid wages. #deletevero."
After these reports came to light, people began attempting to delete the app from their phone and posting about it under the hashtag "#DeleteVero" (example below, right). However, deleting the app, as some noted, is much more difficult than they expected. Instead of a button that allows users to remove their accounts, users must put in a request for deletion.
The lack of a simple delete led to more speculation about the application intentions. The Daily Beast spoke to one Palo Alto-based artist who said, "Don’t download that thing unless you’re using a burner phone."
On February 28th, USA Today published a timeline of Hariri's past business experiences provided by Vero to clarify some of these reports. They wrote:
* In 2005, Hariri was living in the United States. That year, his father, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, was assassinated. (Rafic Hariri left office in 2004.)
* Rafic Hariri had founded Saudi Oger. After his father's death, Ayman Hariri returned to Saudi Arabia to support his family and the company, according to Vero.
* After serving as Deputy CEO and Deputy Chairman, Ayman Hariri left Saudi Oger in 2013 to "pursue other initiatives," the company said, including launching Vero in 2015.
 Vero – Welcome to Vero: Social Network Transforms Personal Online Communication
 NY Mag – What Is Vero? The Overnight Instagram-Killer, Explained for Non-Teenagers
 Twitter – @johnsonave's Tweet
 Twitter – @BISHART's Tweet
 Reuters – Abandoned in Saudi desert camps, migrant workers won't leave without pay
 USA Today – Delete Vero? A movement has already started to ax the new social app
 Twitter – Is Vero a sketchy social network?
 Twitter – @pasql's Tweet
 The Daily Beast – As Vero Blows Up, Backlash Builds Against Social App’s ‘Shady’ Founder
 Twitter – @verotruesocial's Tweet
 Twitter – @verotruesocial's Tweet
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