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Could Ello Unseat Facebook?
By: Jessica Cherok
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Facebook’s real-name policy may have inadvertently led to the rise of a new social media site, Ello. The site, which launched in May of this year, has experienced a sharp rise in interest, and may be signaling the end of an era for Facebook.

The real-name policy on Facebook requires users to go by their real, legal name on the site. However, many people, for many reasons, do not feel comfortable or safe using their real names, and have argued against the policy. Still, Facebook has remained staunch in insisting users only use their real names, and even went so far as to lock some accounts obviously using fake names.

Ello, which is a mix of Tumblr and Twitter, has stepped in to be an attractive alternative to Facebook, saying all the right things at the right time. According to a blog post from the site’s cofounder, Paul Budnitz, “"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."

It’s the point of not being a product that people are really interested in. Many have argued that Facebook’s real-name policy was simply a way of gathering data and making the site more attractive to advertisers. The idea of moving to an ad-free site that respects user privacy, and doesn’t want to capitalize on their data, has made a lot of people pay attention and question whether Facebook is the place to stay.

   

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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