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What you should know about Vero, the sketchy social app that came out of nowhere

You’ve probably heard of Vero, the “new” social networking app that promises to be “less media, more social.” Maybe you saw screenshots of the app shared in your friends’ Instagram stories, with captions like, “I’m trying this out. Add me!” Or, maybe you stumbled upon it in the App Store, where it reached the top spot among social media apps — despite hovering around a two-star rating (it is no different over in the Google Play Store).

Vero is indisputably, undeniably, the ugliest social media app in existence.

Although it’s been around since 2015, Vero received a huge boost during the past couple of weeks. The reason it became popular among Instagram users is likely to do with the fact that it is built around a good-old, algorithm-free, temporally organized post feed. Vero also plans to remain advertising-free, and will implement an annual service charge at some point. For now, all new users will receive free lifetime access, according to the company.

While all the major social media platforms have implemented algorithmic sorting, Instagram users have been particularly outspoken about their hatred for it. They haven’t stopped complaining about the algorithm since the company implemented it, and here comes a new app promising it would never make the same mistake — and it (kind of, sort of) even looks a little bit like Instagram. (It’s even been called an Instagram clone, but anyone with any design sense would not have made this claim; Vero is indisputably, undeniably, the ugliest social media app in existence.)

At best, Vero is a bad app

Almost as quickly as Vero rose to fame, it found itself entangled in controversy. First off, the experience is currently dismal, with many users reporting roadblocks as soon as they try to sign up. While this could be chalked up to Vero simply being unready to handle the rapid influx of new users (it has now surpassed one million registrations, according to a message on its website), there is another problem that can’t be solved by squashing software bugs: Vero’s founder, Lebanese businessman and billionaire Ayman Hariri, doesn’t exactly have a squeaky clean reputation.

He is son of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri (who resigned in 2004 and was assassinated the following year) and previously served as the CEO of his family’s construction business, Saudi Oger. Employees at the company filed some 31,000 complaints over wage nonpayment, had limited access to food and water, and lived in labor camps, as recently outlined by the Daily Beast.

For its part, Vero itself hasn’t received any such complaints, but its founder’s past business dealings are enough to motivate many users to drop the app, or avoid it altogether. Unfortunately, if you’ve already signed up for an account and want to delete it, it’s not a straightforward process.

How to delete Vero

There is no simple “delete account” option with Vero. There are two ways you can at least attempt to delete your account, but both of these involve filing “requests,” and aren’t exactly guarantees that your data will actually be removed.

The first option is to submit a request through Vero’s website. This is a general service request form, so you’ll need to actually spell out that you are requesting your account to be deleted.

There is no simple “delete account” option with Vero.

The second option lives within the app, and would appear, at least, to be a little clearer. From the support menu, select “Delete my account” from the “Who would you like to contact?” menu. Fill out a description and why you want to delete your account, and then tap the submit button. Either way, you apparently will have to wait for a Vero representative to reply “as soon as possible.”

Photographer Jess Selig, who has 28,000 followers on Instagram, was one of many photographers lured to Vero for its algorithm-free timeline. After suffering a “huge” loss of engagement on her Instagram posts in the wake of the algorithm update, Vero seemed worth a shot. But she soon grew frustrated with the user experience and decided to submit a request to delete her account. She received the following response from Vero and shared it with Digital Trends:

Hi there,

We have received your request to delete your account on Vero.

Your account is set towards the deletion process and will be PERMANENTLY DELETED. We will send you a confirmation as soon as your account has been deleted.

Due to extremely high traffic, our servers are currently overloaded. As a result, our deletion process is taking longer than expected. We are working as fast as we can to process your deletion request and we thank you for your patience.

Please DO NOT reply to this message as your request may take longer to process.

Thanks for trying out Vero!

At this time, patience appears to be the only option. It seems that Vero was neither ready for the massive influx of users, nor their sudden exodus. You can also, of course, remove the app from your phone — this won’t erase your account, but it will at least keep Vero out of your way if you’re ready to give up on it.

Updated to add Vero’s response to an account deletion request.

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