Junk Explained: What Is Vero And Why Is Everyone Talking About It?
The new Instagram, the new Facebook, or just the latest waste of time?
If you’ve spent time logged on to the World Wide Web lately, you’ve probably seen people talking about the newest social media app on the block: Vero.
Vero, not to be confused with Vevo or the Void (which is what Vero’s news feed looks like when you have no connections yet — a calming content-free abyss), is being touted by lots of people as the Next Big Thing in social media.
It’s currently trending on the App Store, has been described as both a “Facebook killer” and an “Instagram killer”, and it’s whipping people into a bit of a frenzy over whether or not it’s worth their time to join.
What the fuck is Vero & why are y’all doin this to me ?! Why do you need 5 social media outlets for 1 person WHHHYYYYYYYYYY
— Lil Debbie (@L1LDebbie) February 26, 2018
twitter is the only social media where people who are funny as hell but pretty ugly can thrive so idk what the fuck vero is but good luck taking pics of bicycles and beaches without me dipshits
— that’s hot (@brendan905) February 26, 2018
If you’re also wondering whether or not to get in on the ground floor, we’ve given the app a test spin for you. Here’s everything you need to know:
Why Is Someone Trying To Make Another Social Media App?
If you’re asking why someone’s trying to launch yet another social media service, you’re not alone. Thankfully, Vero has provided a manifesto on its website to explain this (entirely in shouty caps).
Here is a summary of the manifesto, without the caps: Vero is unhappy with the way social media has become about algorithms and ads, and they’re trying to create a more “natural” way of sharing things. In practice, that means no ads, ever (the service will be funded in part by an annual subscription model they’ll introduce soon, and in part by Vero receiving a commission on sales made through the platform).
It also means users have more control over who sees their posts: the news feed is chronological rather than thrown together by an algorithm, and users decide whether each post they make will be broadcast to close friends only, friends only, friends and acquaintances, or anyone who chooses to follow them.
So Is It Like Facebook Or Instagram Or What?
Vero’s been variously described as “the new Facebook” and “the new Instagram”, but in reality it’s actually more like a combination of both, minus some pretty essential features.
It’s similar to Facebook in that you can have friends as well as followers, you can use it to chat to people, and you can post a range of content (links, text posts, photos, film recommendations etc.). Unlike Facebook, there doesn’t seem to be any kind of event function yet, which is bad news for those of us who want to make plans to see our friends in the actual real world. It’s similar to Instagram in that you can post nice looking photos, but there are no stories, so what’s the point.
There are also some real weird quirks to this app, too: in an ~edgy~ design decision, the app is only available in a black-and-blue colour scheme that would be called “night mode” anywhere else. It’s nice looking if you’re a fan of this very specific aesthetic, but extremely annoying if you’re not. Using the app for several hours feels a bit like withering away after being trapped underground for a very long time; switching from Vero back to any other app is like suddenly staring directly into the sun.
Also, photos people send to you in private chats appear in your news feed — visible only to you, sure, but also devoid of the very necessary context of the chat they were sent in. I can report firsthand that it’s extremely jarring to see bitchy screenshots appear in your news feed as if you accidentally sent them to the world. I’m still on edge forty minutes later.
Cool, So Does The App Work Well?
Short answer: not, uh, currently.
Asking my friends to join Vero is one of the worst things I’ve ever done, because I spent the next hour of my life fielding many angry messages about how it won’t download, keeps crashing, and otherwise malfunctions. As one friend repeatedly put it, “zzzzz”. In the time it has taken me to write this article so far, I have experienced 7 server-side timeouts.
Basically, the app keeps crapping out because of the recent flood of users: Vero was not prepared to get this popular this quickly, despite being around since 2015 with the express aim of becoming popular quickly.
Also, You Can Never Leave
As I was wrapping up this article and preparing to leave Vero, I discovered an especially troubling aspect to the app: it’s very hard to leave. The “delete your account” option is hidden away under “support” — instead of finding it in settings, you need to go to your profile, hit a question mark, open a dropdown menu labelled “who would you like to contact?”, and select “delete my account”.
The app then tells you your request has been submitted, and you have to wait to see if the Powers That Be give you permission to leave.
Delete account is in the “?” on your profile and then it says this.
It should say “Thanks, your account is deleted!” not make me wait to see if it’s okay with you first. pic.twitter.com/CrXCpLE1mV
— Justine Ezarik ? (@ijustine) 26 February 2018
Unsurprisingly, people are not finding this easy or user-friendly.
8 am: find me on Vero!
8 pm: help me! I can't find out how to delete my Vero account!
— Pete Halvorsen (@petehalvorsen) February 27, 2018
Just made a Vero account how do I delete it?
— Fish (@GoneFishkin) February 26, 2018
People trying to delete Vero pic.twitter.com/GGroWIBfut
— Kevin Parry (@kevinbparry) February 26, 2018
Anyway, the fact that people are making viral posts on other social media services about desperately wanting to leave Vero is probably the best summary of this app at this point.
Trying to destroy Facebook’s monopoly is a noble quest, sure, but we deserve a replacement that actually does better. The server issues are teething pains, sure, and it’s hard for any app to really shine when they’re still busy acquiring users, but there’s no guarantee they’ll ever get there, and quite a few disincentives to waiting it out. Our honest recommendation: probably give Vero a miss at this stage.