[iDC] Ello--Alternative to Facebook

Elliot Vredenburg elliot.vredenburg at gmail.com
Fri Sep 26 14:05:35 UTC 2014

Another quick note, which I came across this morning (on Facebook, I should
add): Apparently Ello is only possible due to $435k in VC funding, meaning
its users have essentially already been sold:

This seems to be the very reason why they're obscuring their legal
status—despite their "hearts being in the right place," they're still stuck
within the unfortunate horizon of marketing logic that dictates the web.

And alas, my blind optimism has lapsed into despondency once again...

In cahoots,

On Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 5:23 AM, Christian Fuchs <christian.fuchs at uti.at>

> Alternative to Facebook?
> The important question is if Ello is a for-profit company or not and if
> not, if it attempts to become one or not. The important point is how the
> founders and those operating it relate to capitalism.
> It says it does not commodify data for advertising purposes - good!
> It however also says https://ello.co/wtf/post/privacy:
> "We may share your personal information with third parties under several
> circumstances, including [...] if we contract with a third party service
> provider to offer services for you — for example, with a credit card
> processing company if you decide to buy something through Ello. Ello does
> not have any affiliated companies right now. But if we do in the future, we
> may share information with them, too."
> https://ello.co/wtf/post/privacy
> "offer services for you" can mean anything - the crucial thing is if Ello
> or the service-provider make monetary profit by providing this service or
> ever in the future intend to do so. This is not clarified.
> Ello further says https://ello.co/wtf/post/about-ello:
> "We occasionally offer special features to our users. If we create a
> special feature that you really like, you may choose to support Ello by
> paying a very small amount of money to add that feature to your Ello
> account.
> You never have to pay anything, and you can keep using Ello forever, for
> free. By choosing to buy a feature now and then for a very small amount of
> money you support our work and help us make Ello better and better."
> It is unclear here if Ello if these features are offered in order to get
> donations that fund a non-profit organisation or if the intention is to
> accumulate capital.
> Being ad-free is not enough - the point is that you have to be
> non-capitalist in order to be an alternative to Facebook.
> Ello says nowhere if it is a for-profit company, a hobby project of a
> bunch of artists, a co-operative, or whatever. It seems to conceal its
> legal status and that's a problem.
> Ello says: "Ello is a Public Network" https://ello.co/wtf/post/privacy.
> You are only truly public if you are public service or commonly owned.
> It is unclear what Ello is - and that it is not communicating its legal
> status and what its relationship to capitalism is, is troubling. A privacy
> policy and terms of use that do not rule out that a platform is or ever
> becomes capitalist are just as bad as Facebook's.
> Best, Christian
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Elliot Vredenburg
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