New ad-free social network Ello is pro-privacy, but with caveats

26. September 2014
A new social network is generating buzz for its hard stance against paid advertising and data collection. But how the site really works, when it comes to privacy, is a little more nuanced.

Ello is open on an invite-only basis, so you'll need to know someone who's already in the club to get in straight away. Tens of thousands of people are on the waiting list, according to the site, and only small batches of people are being let in at a time.

The site, which is still in beta, works similarly to TwitterTwitter. Users' posts are public, and may include links to outside sites like YouTube or Soundcloud. There are two feeds: "Friends" for your besties; and a curated "Noise" stream for everything else. You can mention other users by adding the "@" symbol in front of their names, comment on their posts and repost them. Alles zu Twitter auf

Those features are not remarkable. But Ello's been generating chatter partly due to its lack of ads and privacy ideals. Unlike FacebookFacebook or GoogleGoogle, the site says it will not sell any of its users' data to third parties. The site hopes to make money by letting users pay for premium features. Alles zu Facebook auf Alles zu Google auf

"We believe there is a better way. We believe in audacity," Ello says in its manifesto. "You are not a product," the company claims.

As many tech firms' businesses revolve around gathering personal data, Ello's claims are being viewed skeptically by some.

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