What is “Ello?” A few weeks ago, no one had heard of it, but suddenly in September, it was the hottest new social network, an invite-only service that some think could be an alternative to Facebook.
Launched in March after a year of testing and tweaking by designers and programmers and based in Vermont, Ello (at ello.co) promises a simpler, ad-free network with no tolerance for hate speech and fewer restrictions on certain kinds of content and the use of real names than competitors like Facebook.
The site is stripped-down, with a black smiley face as its logo and Courier as its font. In a manifesto posted on Ello, the site founders say, “We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce, and manipulate — but a place to connect, create, and celebrate life. You are not a product.”
However, the company has faced criticism for accepting venture capital funding, a sign to some that its intentions may not be so pure. Invites to the site are much in-demand right now, but that could easily change if people become disenchanted with Ello.
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