MeWe: Like Facebook, but with privacy and no ads?


There’s a new social network in town, and at a glance it seems worth a try.

One of my Facebook friends yesterday mentioned MeWe, a new social network I’d never heard of. My initial reaction was twofold. On the one hand, I haven’t seen anything out there that held the potential to displace Facebook (usability, features, business model, etc.), so there was no reason for optimism. On the other, if it was an alternative to Facebook I wanted to get me some.

So I checked it out. Here’s what I can report.

  • It’s built on a model that touts “No Ads. No Spyware. No BS.” They appear to be employing an in-app purchases approach to making money – you can buy emoji packages, different background templates, extra memory and the like.
  • The interface is simple, intuitive, and very obviously built to foster simple transitions over from Facebook. Any new site takes a little effort to sort out, but this one makes all kinds of basic sense to anyone who has used other services.
  • It’s feature-rich. You can do most of what Facebook does – share media, follow people and groups and pages (like the Beeb, for instance, and The Onion), start groups, and so on. It has chat features which are pretty straightforward, as well as a private chat function I haven’t tried yet.

A couple folks I know very quickly threw Ello up at me. Not sure that’s a negative, though. Ello was never intended to be a Facebook killer, and it’s actually really good at what is – an arts-focused broadcast platform. And to the best of my knowledge they’ve never violated their no ad/won’t sell your data pledge.

So MeWe and Ello, if it matters, are apples to oranges. MeWe is aggressively aimed at supplanting Facebook. Ello isn’t.

A lot can go wrong, of course. Maybe MeWe’s biz model doesn’t support the operation. Maybe nobody cares. Maybe they sell it and the buyer opens the door to data marketing and advertisers. No way to know.

But for those of us who like the good things FB offers – communities, connections, the chance to explore new things, and so on – but hate being bought and sold like hogs at auction, there’s no reason in hell not to kick the tires a little.

If you do join, I’m Doc Wintersmith.

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