Ello, a new social network, attracts fed up Facebook users with its promise of ad-free and tracking-free online communication.

Ello is currently in the beta testing phase, but that hasn’t stopped the site from being flooded with traffic. The site, which looks like a cross between Facebook and Tumblr, is invitation only, though anybody can request an invitation from the site’s homepage.

Ello Manifesto

What makes Ello so attractive to potential users is it’s no-ad policy, expressed in detail in Ello’s Manifesto:

“Your social network is owned by advertisers.

“Every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow is tracked, recorded and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold.

“We believe there is a better way. We believe in audacity. We believe in beauty, simplicity and transparency. We believe that the people who make things and the people who use them should be in partnership.

“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.

– WTF”

Facebook is known for selling tracking data to advertisers, so that a user’s homepage can be filled with ads tailored to that user. And, with online privacy becoming a growing concern, users have been leaving Facebook to protect their private information. Moreover, Facebook’s recent crackdown on users who do not appear under their legal names has driven many users – specifically performers – away from the site. As a result of Facebook’s more restrictive policies, large communities have been finding an alternative in Ello, causing an exponential increase in traffic, and the site now has thousands on a waiting list to be invited on the site.

Ello Will Not Track Users

Ello creator Paul Budnitz says that he sees his site’s recent spike in popularity as proof of Ello’s user-friendly policies. “I believe this is really the natural result of the basic structure of the different networks – we’re building Ello for our users, and they’re building Facebook for advertisers,” Budnitz said in an interview with Daily Dot.

On Ello, users can choose to represent themselves however they want, under any name they want. However, Ello does collect “anonymized user behavior” which helps them track how the public is using the site, but users can opt out. As for how Ello founders will fund the site, they intend to make money by selling special features to add to a user’s Ello page.

As Ello continues to grow, new features are constantly added to the site, and policies continue to shift and grow. For example, after Facebook’s restrictions drove many LGBTQ users to Ello, the beta site has added a strict no-bullying policy: “Ello has a zero-tolerance policy for any form of hate, trolling, stalking, spamming, flaming, impersonating others, harming children, pornography, or any other behavior designed to hurt another person physically or emotionally.”

Ello reports receiving a staggering 30,000 requests for invitation per hour, and is still working out kinks in the new site. Ello is currently working on creating privacy settings, user blockings and flagging inappropriate or NSFW content.

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