Social Media

Ello, ad-free, invite-only social media platform, launches Not Safe For Work month

By Nesh Pillay | Reporter

March 2, 2015 | 3 min read

Ello, a social media company, created by artists and designers, has launched 'Not-Safe-For-Work (NSFW) month – a campaign that encourages users to express themselve, without fear of censorship.

“I don’t believe that we can ban some stuff without harming freedom of speech with everybody. I don’t think that’s possible,” said the site’s founder, Paul Budnitz. “So that’s what this month is really about.”

While the site is still in beta and invite-only, Budnitz said it has already acquired millions of users-“musicians, artists, writers, poets, designers, architects”-, but wouldn’t specify an exact number.

“What we’re doing is in alignment with people who are in our network,” he added.

Ello is completely advertisement-free, which has brought the company under scrutiny, as other major social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, have embraced advertising as a source of income.

“When using a social network like Facebook, the advertiser is really the customer,” Budnitz remarked. “The user and their data is what’s being bought and sold.”

Rather, Ello plans to use alternative methods to generate revenue – an app store yet to be launched, and a t-shirt sale that sold “tens of thousands” of shirts.

Unsurprisingly, Ello has been compared to Facebook and has been criticized by many, including Mark Zuckerberg himself, for its inability to appeal to the masses. Mass appeal however, doesn’t appear to be the company’s target.

“Comparing us to Facebook will be like comparing a boutique clothing designer to Walmart,” said Budnitz. “We’re just not building another Walmart. That’s not what we’re interested in.”

While NSFW month ends in four weeks, Ello users are always encouraged to express themselves, safe-for-work, or not.

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