Among the more frequently mentioned G+ alternatives at the Google+ Mass Migration community
, and others, is MeWe
with over 250 mentions
. The site bills itself as "The Next-Gen Social Network" and the "anti-Facebook": "No Ads, No Political Bias, No Spyware. NO BS.
It is headed by professed Libertarian
CEO Mark Weinstein
As the site reveals no public user-generated content to non-members, it's necessary to create an account in order to get a full impression. I thought I'd provide an overview based on recent explorations.
This report leads of with background on the company, though readers may find the report and analysis of specific groups on the site of interest.
Founder & CEO Mark Weinstein.
Co-Founder & Chief Scientist, Jonathan Wolfe (no longer with company).
Weinstein previously founded SuperFamily and SuperFriends, "at the turn of the millennium". Weinstein's MeWe biography
lists articles published by The Mirror (UK), Huffington Post, USA Today, InfoSecurity Magazine, Dark Reading, and the Nation. His media appearances include MarketWatch, PBS, Fox News, and CNN. He's also the author of several personal-success books
His Crunchbase bio
is a repeat of the MeWe content.
- Sir Tim Berners-Lee: Inventor of the World Wide Web.
- Jack Canfield: Legendary Founder, Chicken Soup For The Soul.
- John Friedman: Founding Partner, Easton Capital.
- Cullen Hoback: Director, Terms and Conditions May Apply.
- Dianne Morrison: Partner, MorrisonMcNabb, LLC.
- Colin Sebastian: Director, Equity Research/Internet, RW Baird.
- Brett Shevack: CEO, Brand Initiatives; Former Vice Chair, BBDO.
- Marci Shimoff: author, Happy for No Reason.
- Sherry Turkle: Professor, MIT; author Alone Together.
Ownership & Investment
MeWe is the dba of Sgrouples, a private for-profit early-stage venture company based in Los Angeles, though with a Mountain View HQ and mailing address, 11-50 employees, with $10m in funding over five rounds, and a $20m valuation as of 2016.
Sgrouples, Inc., dba MeWe Trust & Safety - Legal Policy c/o Fenwick West 801 California Street Mountain View, CA 94041 Crunchbase Profile
Founded: 2012 (source
Secured $1.2M in seed funding
2016 valuation: $20m (source
- John Friedman, venture capitalist, founder & MD, Easton Capital, New York, NY.
- Jack Canfield, author, Chicken Soup for the Soul.
- Marci Schimoff, author, Love for No Reason, Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul.
- Tom Myers, investment advisor.
- Mykola Latansky, personal improvement guru, Ukraine.
- Dan Phillips, entrepreneur, co-founder, CloudHealth Technologies.
- Jack Sweeney, CEO, SevOne, operating partner, Bain Capital Ventures. (WSJ Profile)
- Rachel Roy, fashion designer.
- Lynda Weinman, founder of Lynda.com.
Despite the business address, the company claims to be based in Los Angeles County, California
and is described by the Los Angeles Business Journal
as a Culver City, CA, company.
In an August 6, 2018 Twitter post, Weinstein promotes MeWe
Do you have friends still on Facebook? Share this link with them about Facebook wanting their banking information - tell them to move to MeWe now! No Ads. No Spyware. No Political Agenda. No Bias Algorithms. No Shadow Banning. No Facial Recognition.
MeWe provide several policy-related links on the site:
Highlights of these follow.
- Message disappearance (self-expiring messages).
- California Disclosures -- Do Not Track, 3rd-party cookies, and California Privacy Rights.
- Your Identity: We protect it to the extent the law allows
- Linking to Third-Party Sites: These are your decisions and responsibilities
- Security: HTTPS and Encryption
- Children's Privacy
Terms of Service
The ToS addresses:
- Your acceptance
- Allowable Content and Acceptable Use
- Rights Reserved
- Who Our Services are For
- User Content Ownership
- Misuse of Usernames, Page names, Group names
- Fake Accounts (pseudonyms allowed, misleading is not)
- More on Spam
- Our Commitment to Data Security
- MeWe Content Data
- MeWe Log Data
- Your Data Portability
- Deleting Your Account -- Right to Erasure
- MeWe Secret Chat
- MeWe Invitations and "Add Automatically"
- Additional Policies for Pages, Groups, and Events Notifications of Requests for Account Information
- Guidelines for Law Enforcement Seeking Customer Data (Worldwide)
- MeWe Rights
- Ownership In and To the Site and Services
- Other Provisions
Effective: November 6, 2018.
The FAQ addresses:
- What is MeWe (emphasises privacy)
- The Politics of MeWe ("absolutely no political agenda")
- How can MeWe be free and make money? (additional services/freemium)
- Which devices is MeWe available on? (Android, iOS)
- What content can I share on MeWe (photos, videos, documents, voice messages, privacy mail, chats, gifs, memes, doodles)
- What are some unique features of MeWe?
- Who can see the posts I share?
- Can I delete my MeWe account and is it easy to do this?
This emphasises that people are social cratures
and private people by right
. The service offers the power of self expression
under an umbrella of safety
. It notes that our innermost thoughts require privacy
Under "We aspire...":
MeWe is here to empower and enrich your world. We challenge the status quo by making privacy, respect, and safety the foundations of an innovatively designed, easy-to-use social experience.
Totalling 182 words.
Privacy Bill of Rights
A ten-item statement of principles (possibly inspired by another document, it might appear):
- You own your personal information & content. It is explicitly not ours.
- You will never receive a targeted advertisement or 3rd party content based on what you do or say online. We think that's creepy.
- You see every post in timeline order from your friends, family & groups. We do not manipulate, filter, or change the order of your content or what you see.
- Permissions & privacy are your rights. You control them.
- You control who can access your content.
- You control what, if anything, others can see in member searches.
- Your privacy means we do not share your personal information with anyone.
- Your emojis are for you and your friends. We do not monitor or mine your data.
- Your face is your business. We do not use facial recognition technology.
- You have the right to delete your account and take your content with you at any time.
There are a few mentions of MeWe in the press, some listed on the company's website, others via web search.
The following articles are linked directly from MeWe's Press
The page also lists a "Privacy Revolution Required Reading" list of 20 articles all addressing Facebook privacy gaffes in the mainstream press (Wired, TechCrunch, Fortune, Gizmodo, The Guardian, etc.).
There are further self-reported mentions in several of the company's PR releases over the years.
A DuckDuckGo search
produces several other press mentions, including:
- Facebook Alternative MeWe Raises $5.2M, Los Angeles Business Journal (July 7, 2018) "The latest round, as well as MeWe’s total $10 million in fundraising, was predominantly backed by celebrity investors, such as author Marci Shimoff, Rachel Roy, and Lynda Weinman, founder of Lynda.com, which sold to Linkedin in 2015 for $1.5 billion. Jack Canfield, creator of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series, also invested in MeWe."
- Full Page "Dear Facebook" Letter In The New York Times from MeWe, the Competitor Mark Zuckerberg Refuses to Name Yahoo Finance/PR Newsire (May 28, 2018) "Facebook competitor MeWe, in its first-ever advertisement on any medium, took a full-page in the New York Times on Sunday, May 27th. MeWe's "Dear Facebook" letter is a direct response to Mark Zuckerberg's letter ad on March 25th, and a response to Zuckerberg's refusal to name a Facebook competitor in front of Congress."
- Is building a Facebook alternative worth the effort? MeWe thinks so VentureBeat (July 5, 2018) "[T]here are still companies hoping to make their mark in the social networking realm with “Facebook alternatives.” One of those is MeWe, a “next-generation” social network that positions itself as the anti-Facebook: “Your private life is not for sale. No ads. No Spyware. No BS,” its website proclaims." Continues to mention "modest $5.2 million" funding round. Also a "sister product", MeWePRO, a Slack competitor.
- 5 easy and simple ways to protect your privacy online — how to prepare for the next big threat Medium/Mark Weinstein (November 16, 2016) "If there’s one thing everyone wants to protect it’s their privacy and information online."
- Startup MeWe Launches Free, 'No Ads' Social Network eWeek (March 16, 2016) "MeWe, a new network engineered with its users' data privacy built in, is betting that a lot of people will say yes to both of those questions. The Mountain View, Calif.-based startup, whose parent company is Sgrouples.com, launched its freely available social network out of beta March 9 with more than 200,000 members already using it.... Sir Tim Berners-Lee, co-architect of the World Wide Web, found out about MeWe on his own and approached the company about getting involved."
- Facebook Alternative MeWe closes $5.2M Series A Yahoo/PR Newswire (July 5, 2018). "The investment brings MeWe's total funding to $10 million, to support the engineering of MeWe and the enterprise version MeWePRO.... The company has relied on high net worth individuals for all of its funding including Lynda Weinman, founder of Lynda.com ...; Marci Shimoff, a #1 New York Times bestselling author ...; Rachel Roy...; and Jack Canfield."
- Exactis Data Leak 2018: 340 Million Records Exposed InvestorPlace (June 29, 2018) "'Today's cookies can link your mobile phone to your laptop, to your home monitoring devices, and much, much more. Creepy? Scary? Orwellian? Yes, yes, yes,' Mark Weinstein, the privacy expert and founder of social media company MeWe, told MarketWatch. 'So imagine that Exactis, like Facebook, knows everything about you — really.'"
- MeWe Raises $3M in Funding FinSMEs (March 9, 2016) "Sgrouples, Inc., the Mountain View, CA-based developer of MeWe, a social network with neither ads nor tracking, raised $3m in funding."
- MeWe Raises $4.8 Million, Launches Next-Gen Social Network Cision/PRWeb (March 9, 2016) "The company also announced the completion of its $3 million Seed III round of funding at a $20 million valuation, bringing MeWe’s total funding to date to $4.8 million."
- Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s app MeWe is used by neo-Nazis and perverts The Times of London (January 8, 2019) "The social network that Sir Tim Berners-Lee hoped would be free from abuse has been found to contain gun sales, drugs and antisemitism."
This section is a basic rundown of the user-visible site technology.
The site is not natively accessible from a mobile Web browser as it is overlayed with a promotion for the mobile application instead. Selecting "Desktop View" in most mobile browsers should allow browser-based access.
There are both Android and iOS apps for MeWe. I've used neither of these, though the App store entries note:
- MeWe Android 4.4 rating (13.1k ratings). Permissions: Contacts (read), Location (approximate/precise), SMS (receive), Phone (read status & identity), Photos/Media/Files (read, modify, & delete contents), Storage (read, modify, or delete), Camera (take pictures/videos), Microphone (record audio), Device ID & Call Info (read status & identity), and numerous elements under Other.
- MeWe iOS 4.3 rating (18.1K ratings) In-app purchases (additional features).
cites 209,220 mobile downloads over the past 30 days (via Apptopia), an 80.78% monthly growth rate, from Google Play.
Either selecting "View Desktop" or navigating with a Desktop browser to https://www.mewe.com
your are presented with a registration screen, with the "About", "Privacy Bill of Rights", "MeWe Challenge", and a language selector across the top of the page. Information requested are first and last name, phone or email, and a password. Pseudonymous identities are permitted, though this isn't noted on the login screen. Returning members can use the "Member Log In" button.
The uMatrix Firefox extension reveals no third-party content: all page elements are served from mewe.com, img.mewe.com, cdn.mewe.com, or ws.mewe.com. (In subsequent browsing, you may find third-party plugins from, for example, YouTube, for videos, or Giphy, for animated GIFs.)
The web front-end is nginx. The site uses SSL v3, issued by DigiCert Inc. to Sgrouples, Inc.
The onboarding experience is stark. There is no default content presented. A set of unidentified icons spans the top of the screen, these turn out to be Home, Chats, Groups, Pages, and Events. New users have to, somehow, find groups or people to connect with, and there's little guidance as to how to do this.
Generally there is a three panel view, with left- and right-hand sidebars of largely navigational or status information, and a central panel with main content. There are also pop-up elements for chats, an omnipresent feature of the site.
Controls display labels on some devices and/or resolutions. Controls do not
provide tooltips for navigational aid.
Among the touted features
of MeWe are:
- My Cloud - Seamlessly organize all your content in My Cloud; it's your personal cloud. My Cloud offers an interactive dashboard for you to control everything you’ve posted or shared - making it simple to delete or reshare.
- Unique profiles - Be yourself, free from any tracking and spying. Customize your profile for every group you create or join.
- Voice integration (on any or all content) - Post pictures, videos, or documents and include a voice message. Respond to a shared post or just chat. MeWe’s voice integration works for you and your contacts throughout the entire platform.
- Universal tagging - This is a new, convenient way to sort and organize all the content you receive and share, making it easy to find everything, anytime.
- Enhanced permission control (patent issued) - Manage permissions on a granular level and decide exactly who sees what. You can also remove yourself from the search directory, make yourself invisible to other members online, and much more.
- Much More – join MeWe today and take a look inside! MeWe is the next-gen social networking experience designed for you to have fun, stay in touch, collaborate, organize, and simplify.
A key aspect of any social network is its community. Some of the available or ascertained information on this follows.
Weinstein claims a "million+ following inside MeWe.com
" on Twitter.
The largest visible groups appear to have a maximum of around 15,000 members , for "Awesome gifs". "Clean Comedy" rates 13,350, and the largest open political groups, 11,000+ members.
This compares to Google+ which has a staggering, though Android-registrations-inflated 3.3 billion profiles, and 7.9 million communities, though the largest of these come in at under 10 million members. It's likely that MeWe's membership is on the whole more more active than Google+'s, where generally-visible posting activity was limited to just over 9% of all profiles, and the active user base was well under 1% of the total nominal population.
MeWe do not publish active users (e.g., MUA / monthly active users) statistics.
MeWe is principally a group-oriented discussion site -- interactions take place either between individuals or within group contexts. Virtually all discovery is group-oriented. The selection and dynamics of groups on the site will likely strongly affect user experience, so exploring the available groups and their characteristics is of interest.
"MeWe has over 60,000 open groups
" according to its FAQ.
The Open groups -- visible to any registered MeWe user, though not
to the general public Web -- are browsable, though sections and topics must be expanded to view the contents: an overview isn't immediately accessible. We provide a taste here.
A selection of ten featured topics spans the top of the browser. As I view these, they are:
- MeWe Favorites
- Health & Fitness
- Cars & Motorcycles
- Fashion and Beauty
Specific groups may appear in multiple categories.
The top Groups within these topics have, variously, 15,482, 7,738, 15,482 (dupe), 7,745, 8,223, 8,220, 1,713, 9,527, 2,716, and 1,516 members. Listings scroll at length -- the Music topic has 234 Groups, ranging in size from 5 to 5,738 members, with a median of 59, mean of 311.4, and a 90%ile of 743.5.
Below this is a grid of topics, 122 in all, ranging from Activism to Wellness, and including among them. A selected sample of these topics, with top groups listed members in (parens), follows:
- Activism: QAnon+++ (2,572), PATRIOT PREPPERS USA (2,430), Deplorables Republic (2,48), The War Drummer (1,898), Patriots for a United America. (1894), Anonymous (1,700).
- Alternative Energy: Reiki, Crystals, and alternative healing (2,114), 💜Starseeds & Empaths💜 (345), Living in Colour (365).
- Alternative Lifestyle: Natural Healing and Home Remedies (3,045), Backyard Farming of All Things (2,696), WeTheSheeple (2,251).
- Alumni Connections: Google Plus Refugees (271), Google+ Refugees (186), Frog Pond (156), Carlsbad NM High School alumni (57).
- Animals: I Love My Dog (4,421), Pussy Shots (4,619).
- Astronomy: Spherical Earth Truth, Flat Earth is Wrong (278), Nibiru, Nemesis, Hercolobus, The Destroyer (187).
- Biology: Trees (344), Field of Birds (104), Patriots of Australia (51).
- Blogs: Women Bloggers (1,439), Urban & Wilderness Survival & Preparedness (1,367), Conservative Patriots & Oath keepers (742).
- Books and Book Clubs: PNW Book Club (1609), Bookworms (1,464), Erotica and Erotic Romance Book Lovers (1,219).
- Business: Small Business Connect (2,565), Deep Survival (1,183), Marketing and Social Media Tips (1,173).
- Career Building: Marketing jobs and opportunities (698), Famous Quotes (184), Automotive Technicians (57).
- Celebrities: Madonna Mania (116), Katy Perry (Hot!) (103), Trance Gemini of andromeda 2.0 (16).
- Classrooms: Are YOU Awake too? (1331), CRT (Crystal Resonance Therapy) Student Support (28).
- Clubs / Associations: RCBS Reloading Equipment (685), Boat Owners United (670), The Caliber Canteen (Reloading/ Firearms Buy/Sell) (505).
- Co-workers: Money Making sites to SHARE (235), Cop and retired cop friends (85).
- Coders: Hacker (978), Delphi Developers (269), Python (258).
- Colleges and Universities: SEC Football (832), Christian Apologetics: Campus Apologetics Alliance (221).
- Cooking: *recipies/homecooking* (2,618), Low & Slow BBQ (1,582), Mexican Foods and Recipes (1,503), Budget Meal Recipes (1,004).
- Culture: Destroying the Illusion Fans (1147), my friends (551), Coffee Addicts (542).
- Cyclists: Car Free Cities / Cycle communting (26).
- DIY: Homesteading DIY (5843), Prepper Living (3110), Knucklehead Homesteading (2102), 1911 owners forum (1,474).
- Dating: 🌸something Beautiful just for you too🌸 (237), Relationship Junction (171), LDS Dating (114).
- Education: Q-Anon Patriots (1,616), InfoWars.com (1,217), Constitutional Liberty for All (907), Prepping, Homesteads skills and Community (887), Shamanic Community (756), Truther Talk (665).
- Environmental: Geoengineering, Chemtrails, HAARP (455), ShareYourLove (253), The Seasons (193), Near Term Human Extinction Love (174).
- Family: Raising Natural Kids (1,496), Dogs (1,075), VACCINE DANGERS (583).
- Fraternities: Freemasonry (1072), Brotherhood of the Blade (313), Proud Boys Canada (74).
- Friends: MEWE FRIENDS ( NO NUDES ) (2,416), FIREARMS UNLIMITED...MEWE Version (1,517).
- Gamers: Tabletop RPG's and Boardgames (1,936), Dungeons & Dragons (1,499), OSR (1,485).
- Green: Aquaponics and Self SustainingLlifestyle (655), ENVIRONMENT and CLIMATE (583), Chasing Butterflies - Vaccine Free (385).
- Health & Fitness: NATURAL HEALING AND FOODS (8,221), Bodybuilding (5,321), Natural alternatives for Modern Health (4,680), Vaccine Free (3,285).
- Heart of All Women: Christian Women Talk About ANYTHING (39).
- History: 9/11, False Flags, & NWO Truth (1,872), The American Cowboy (1,065), "This Day in History" by Tara Ross (590).
- Hobbies: CinDes Embroidery (1,974), Another Caliber to Conquer (1,800), Sonia Showalter Machine Embroidery Designs (1,696).
- Home Improvement: Renovations With Grace❤️ Question & Answers (723), Home improvement DIY Group (79), Buildings churches castles etc (33).
- Homeschooling: Christian Homeschool Parents (889), Open Path Homeschool: Secular, Buddhist, Pagan, UU (145), The Lords Prophets (33).
- Hunting & Sportsman: GUN POST Group (Canada) (5,097), Guns, Ammo, and Supply's (5,023), OLD GUNS AND OLD FARTS (4,902).
- Innovation: Bitcoin/Crypto/Blockchain (759), CRYPTO 24/7/365 (28), 2 Real News (372), Tisk 3D modelů - 3D print (26).
- Jewelry: DFW Gold And Silver Coins And Currency (449), FIRE AGATE GEMSTONES (106).
- LGBT: HOUSE OF KNIGHTS - ENTERTAINMENT & MAIN GROUP (680), HOUSE OF KNIGHTS - HISTORY (421), HOUSE OF KNIGHTS - CARTOON (409).
- MEMES: MeMe Wars (3,758), MILITARY MEMES/FUNNY MILITARY MEMES (2,616), Shitposting Dumpster Fire (2,318).
- MLM: Post your biz opp here. (855), Make Money Moms Work at Home (612), Work From Home Opportunities (428).
- Medicine: Dinosaur Docs (120), MEDICAL MALPRACTICE (88), Zhong - Beroepsvereniging voor TCG (56).
- Medicine & Herbs: Herbal Survivalist Spot (2,353), There's an Oil for That™ (1142), 🌴Weed News🌴 (880).
- Meetups: light workers (1,203), MeWe Welcome (or "It's Not a Ghost Town") (729), The Banter Lounge (223).
- Movies and Film: Digital Movies (4K, HD, iTunes, MA, UV) (2,519), Ultraviolet Digital UV & MA Codes (Buy/Sell/Trade) (2,073), Science Fiction (1,483).
- Music: 60's 70's 80s Music (5,739), Musicians of MeWe! (5,194), Guitar Playing (3,921).
- Neighborhoods: Texas Issues (317), Cascadia Circles (235), Houston tx (214).
- Nerds: Cosplay (1,856), Classic Sci-fi Kingdom (1,292), Marvel (410).
- News: Judge Jeanine Pirro has Fans (7,808), Qanon News (3,466), Unfiltered News (2,913).
- Non-Profit: TRUMP IS MY PRESIDENT (190), Flat Earth Database - 地平論資料庫 (127), Florida Carry (99).
- Organic: Gardening Guru's Unlimited (1,381), GMO FREE for me! (1,076), Americans For Cannabis (874).
- Organizations: TRUMPANDPENC2016 (1,454), Low Country Survival Prepping & Camping (1,064), Wisconsin Firearms Trader (614).
- Parenting: Vaccines Empower Warrior Voices (391), Moms talk (360), Peaceful Parenting (131).
- Personal Improvement: For Introverts. (1,214), Anarchy, Philosophy, Psychology, and Spirituality (679), Positive Affirmations (447).
- Philosophy: In5d Esoteric Metaphysical and Spiritual Database (1,764), Thought Bouncing (1,137), Obtectivists - Galts Gulch - Ayn Rand fans (561).
- Poetry: Dead Poest (1,407), Palacio de Poetry (451), Poets Corner (412).
- Politics: Donald J. Trump 2016 - Present (11,486), The Conservative's Hangout (8,345), Qanon Follow The White Rabbit (5,600), Drain The Swamp (4,978), Libertarians (4,528), United We Stand Trump2020 (4,216).
- Pop Culture: The Loftus Party (116), The Walking Dead: The Stalking Dead (100), Tyler, Texas (71).
- Privacy: Join the Open/Privacy Movement (3974), Kingsport tn gun trader (1,157), Safer Computing (555).
- Psychology: Inspiring Spirituality༺❉༻ non-religious~ universal (1,486), sacred plants & psychedelix community (1,212), OUR.Psychology (701), Dream Interpretation (537).
- Recreation: Everything Reloading (3,252), Redeye Reloading (1,980), Fishing (1,549).
- Relationships: Complementarian Thought (50).
- Religion / Spirituality: LoveHasWon (3,245), The Christian Underground (2,604), Pagan Friendly Folk (1,630).
- Robots: Arduino Hexapods, Balancing Robots, and projects (137).
- Romantic: Snapchat Add Party (2,681), Green Heart (1,270), ROMANCE COMMUNITY (205).
- Science: Consciousness (1,327), Steven's Private Alien/UFO Group (668), BIGFOOT HAPPENINGS (538).
- Self Help: * SURVIVE and THRIVE* (858), Preparedness and Off Grid Living (763), Free (631).
- Self-Directed Learning: Exposing the Matrix of Lies (997), WAKE THE FUCK UP (474), Wake the Fuck Up. The Next Dimension (287). WTFU when SHTF (126).
- Social Change: Armed with Truth and Knowledge (1,986), VEGANS UNITE (766), ACTIVISM universal headlines ~❉~ (729), Meet Earth's Cosmic Neighbors (MECN) (663).
- Space: Space (579), ** THE AMAZING UNIVERSE and OUR WORLD** (546), WE ARE NOT ALONE... (488).
- Sports: Australian IPSC Buy And Sell (591), Formula 1 (295), Border War Rifle Series, Iowa PRS Matches (280).
- Sports Teams: Liverpool FC