MeWe, the “anti-Facebook” social media website, has seen a surge in new membership following concerns regarding data privacy and the recent mass waves of censorship of conservative speech in popular big tech-controlled websites.
“People all over the world are leaving Facebook and Twitter in droves,” said MeWe spokesperson David Westreich during an interview with Fox Business on Thursday, Jan. 21, “because they are fed up with the relentless privacy violations, surveillance capitalism, political bias, targeting and newsfeed manipulation by these companies. MeWe solves these problems.”
According to MeWe, this week alone the company added about 2.5 million new members to its fledgling social media website. Back in June 2020, they only had about eight million members. Thanks to the recent exodus from more mainstream social media websites, MeWe’s total user base now numbers around 16 million.
MeWe’s business model puts it in stark contrast with the traditional social media models used by the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Westreich claims that this is part of the website’s appeal, as it is the “anti-Facebook” social media website.
MeWe is an ad-free platform. For many, this alone is a great bonus, as it allows people to freely browse the website without their data being collected for targeted advertising.
Furthermore, MeWe founder Mark Weinstein has vowed to not censor any user for behavior that Facebook or Twitter might consider a violation of their policies. Weinstein is, of course, referring to political speech that, if published on the latter websites, would cause a user to be censored, or worse, deplatformed.
On the homepage of MeWe’s website, potential new users are greeted with the slogan: “Your private life is #Not4Sale. No Ads. No Sypware. No BS.” Users are also given the opportunity to look through MeWe’s “Privacy Bill of Rights,” which states that the platform is never going to manipulate, filter or change the order with which content goes through a user’s newsfeed.
The company has also pledged to never use facial recognition technology. Furthermore, while the company stresses the primacy of free speech, the website’s terms of service prohibit users from posting content that is considered to be “hateful, threatening, harmful or incites violence.”
During an interview with the Associated Press, Weinstein stressed the importance of keeping speech free from censorship on his website.
“We have absolutely no censorship for good people who follow our rules. We don’t care what your opinion is, if you’re on the right or the left. That’s none of our business. Also, MeWe’s structural design prohibits the amplification [of misinformation]. Members do moderation for us, but a very deep violation can lead to immediate removal and being reported to outside authorities. For others, a member can be [temporarily suspended] and then a three-strike rule applies.”
On Monday, Jan. 18, for the first time since the website and its companion app were launched in 2016, MeWe became the second most downloaded social app in the Google Play Store.
“And the only social network on the list that treats its members as customers to serve – not data to share, target or sell,” bragged the company on their Twitter account.
MeWe’s current boost in membership is the second time the site has experienced a sudden influx of new members. The first time this happened was during the Nov. 2020 election when the website, along with other free speech social media alternatives like Gab and Parler, experienced a surge in membership amid concerns that Twitter, Facebook, Google and other big tech companies were cracking down on conservative speech.
Even the search engine DuckDuckGo, which has placed an emphasis on not tracking what people search, and making sure everybody gets the same search results, has experienced an increase in traffic to its website. The company has said that it has seen a 62 percent increase in site visits in recent weeks as users flee from Google, Yahoo and Bing.
“People are coming to us because they want more privacy, and it’s generally spreading through word of mouth,” said DuckDuckGo Vice President for Communications Kamyl Bazbaz. “People are looking for alternatives to the surveillance-tech business model.”
“We’ve seen this happen before,” he added. “When a high profile privacy issue is exposed, we generally see an increase in use.”
Learn more about how MeWe and other privacy- and free speech-focused alternatives are standing up to big tech censorship and data theft by reading the latest articles at TechGiants.news.