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What is Vero? Social media app to rival Facebook and Instagram is topping charts

The Vero app is rising in popularity amid algorithm changes on Facebook and Instagram.  .
The Vero app is rising in popularity amid algorithm changes on Facebook and Instagram. . Ant Palmer/Getty Images

A social media app created years ago is surging in popularity after promising it won’t make the same mistakes as Facebook and Instagram.

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Vero was co-founded in 2015 by Lebanese billionaire Ayman Hariri, and has a “manifesto” that seems to be resonating with users amid algorithm changes on other social networks.

The app, which is available on iPhones and Androids, has been so widely downloaded around the world in recent days that it’s led to technical issues.

The app, which allows users to share movies, music, links, places and photos, promises a “true social” experience that mirrors real life.

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“We created a social network that lets you be yourself. Hence the name Vero. Meaning truth,” the manifesto reads online.

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What’s different about Vero?

Vero has made a long list of promises to lure more users, the most notable being that it will stay ad-free, with no data mining, and won’t change things drastically with constant algorithm changes. That means posts will show up in chronological order, and some content won’t be preferred over others.

It also offers tailored friends lists — with categories such as close friends, friends, acquaintances and followers — each with different security settings.

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The app also has a feature called “collections,” which allows users to create a personal library of content they want to save for later.

Vero is also changing up private messages, by integrating them within the app’s personal feed, rather than creating a separate section.

What’s the catch?

But how will the app ensure all these features without ads? A subscription fee.

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While the app is free to download, users will have to pay an annual fee to stay connected. The first million users, however, will have free accounts for now.

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Users upset over recent changes

Part of Vero’s recent rise in popularity can be attributed to social media users being upset over changes on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

Trust issues over fake news have plagued Facebook for years. The social media network’s recent changes to its news feed reduced the time spent by users by about 50 million hours every day.

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Instagram has also been facing a backlash recently, as it pivoted away from showing posts in chronological order — meaning some posts don’t show up on newsfeeds at all, while others show up days later.

An update on Snapchat also prompted anger earlier this year and an online petition. The app revamped much of its look and confused users around the world.