Internet Censored Gun Industry Moving to VERO Platform. Wrong Answer?

The anti-free speech and anti-gun social media platforms like Instagram and Youtube have been going on a censorship rampage lately. Firearms-related Youtube channels are being shut down. Here is the message Youtube sent Tim Harmsen from Military Arms Channel claiming he’s encouraging illegal activity . . .

Instagram posts with images of guns are being removed, like the image below which is apparently inappropriate and violates Instagram’s standards.

As a result, gun industry types have been joining a new social media platform called VERO. This new platform seems pretty cool; the layout is clean and easy to use. Users have a convenient way to control who sees their posts and who doesn’t.

According to VERO’s manifesto, they’re a subscription based social media platform with no advertisements. The subscription fee is supposed to eventually be a few dollars a year; the first one million users get a free lifetime membership.

Like all social media platforms, VERO has a just-vague-enough set of community guidelines that allows them to censor what they deem to be inappropriate content. If this platform takes off,  it’s only a matter of time until censorship begins. Here is a link to VERO’s terms of service, and here is a link to their privacy policy.

Here’s what you agree to when signing up.

You are required to give your phone number, which is verified via a code that is text messaged to you during registration

According to their privacy policy they are allowed to capture your Facebook username and other usernames of other websites and apps. Lets think about that for a second, a lot of people use one password for their social media accounts. So now a company has your Facebook username and a known password for your VERO account. This is a hackers dream.

If you use the Invite Contacts feature you give VERO permission to access your phone numbers and email addresses stored in your phone to send text messages and emails to your contacts.

When you download the App you agree to allow VERO to receive or collect and store a unique identification number associated with your device (“Device ID”), mobile carrier, device type and manufacturer, phone number, and location data (e.g., city and state) of your mobile device.

VERO explicitly says they are allowed to share you personal information with other parties. The privacy policy states basically that they can share what they want with whomever they want.

VERO states in their privacy policy that they can store your information in  “any other country in which Vero or its subsidiaries, affiliates or service providers maintain facilities” Like their Russian facilities, more on that later.

If you delete your account they are allowed to save your personal data.

They explicitly say they do not honor “Do-Not-Track signals from your browser at this time.” meaning they can and do track your movements even if you tell your browser not to allow this.

The privacy policy can change and they only way you will know it is if you check their privacy policy page.

You wave your right to class action lawsuits and jury trials. Your legal rights are limited to mandatory individual arbitration.

The CEO and Co-founder of VERO is a Lebanese billionaire name Ayman Hariri. Mr. Hariri is the son of former Lebanese Prime Minister who was assassinated in 2005.

After the assassination Mr. Hariri moved to Saudi Arabia to take over a business his father had started called Saudi Oger. The company went out of business in July of 2017 due to mismanagement and alleged corruption. Employees claimed that they weren’t being paid — or given much food or water.

Also worth noting: VERO admits to using Russian developers: “We are fortunate to work with a team of talented individuals from across the world. Like nearly every global technology company, that includes developers based in Russia, plus talent across the US, France, Germany and Eastern Europe,” a spokesperson for Vero told TIME.

Let’s sum this up . . .

The gun industry is migrating to VERO in large numbers because of censorship concerns. VERO is owned by a man who ran a company that used slave labor in Saudi Arabia. VERO is developed by Russian Programmers. The agreements you agree to when signing up with VERO allow them to track your movements, capture your usernames and other information. It allows them to store and share this information wherever they want and keep your information even if you delete your account.

How great is that?

comments

  1. avatar CalGunsMD says:

    Minds.com is free

    1. avatar doesky says:

      I prefer that Google just gets broken into very small pieces with anti-trust lawsuits.

      Google has more influence than all the previous monopolies combined in history.

  2. avatar UtahCCW says:

    What about gab.ai? Anyone using this?

    1. avatar Alex Waits says:

      I like gab.

    2. avatar LibertyToad says:

      I like Gab as well. I’m on Minds too but I’m not crazy about it.

    3. avatar Ing says:

      Gab kicks ass.

      Their promise is never to censor — and so far they live by it. If it’s legal, it’s good to go. Gab also has built-in features to help content creators like MAC and other YouTubers make money on the platform (although I don’t think they have video hosting…yet). Plus it’s chock-full of people who appreciate guns and the Second Amendment.

      It’s not very big yet as far as social media platforms go, but the people that are developing it really know what they’re doing. It’s easy to use, respects free speech, and makes its money through donations and subscriptions, not through user-data exploitation like Facebook and (apparently) this new Vero thing.

    4. avatar Pete says:

      GAB is nice, but it has downsides. Obviously it’s not a legacy platform like Twitter. Also, it’s the same SPOF that Twitter is. Once GAB’s founder, Mr.Torba, is done a Seth Rich, the subscribers of GAB are screwed. Honestly I think that anyone who can run a blog should run a GNU/social instance or an equivalent technology if it emerges (e.g. ActivityPub based).

      Do keep in mind that GAB has no business model. Torba is digging his heels into the ground and refuses to sell the users privacy to bit advertisers. That is quite admirable and all, but it also means that GAB exists on donations. It can one day go belly up simply because of bankrupcy.

      Finally, GAB’s video capability is close to zero.

  3. avatar jwtaylor says:

    I didn’t allow access to my location, access to my camera, access to my contacts and I used a different password, the same as I did for IG.
    The owners are absolutely no less shady than those of Facebook, the owner of IG. Russian programmers are no more of an enemy to me than the NSA’s, if, indeed, they are different people. Their privacy policy is essentially the same as IG’s. Whatever they see or touch the can sell or use however the want. IG and Facebook can even use your images to sell your “friends” things and pretend they are you.
    If the “no censorship” remains real, they will dominate the market.
    That is, assuming they can actually get the thing to work. So far, not so much.

  4. avatar Alex Waits says:

    #verosucks

    I don’t use it.

  5. avatar emfourty gasmask says:

    social media is a cancer that needs to die if we, as a society, want an realistic future.

    Facebook, Twitter, Etc. has taken the internet, once an open and free bastion of information, and turned it into this really really super-crappy form of contained, corporate owned abomination that everybody just ate into at large, without realizing how stupid it was.

    So unless we as people decide to STOP our media addiction, STOP eating into this corporatism that is clearly against us, and stop caring about social media, we will continue to have these violations by people who wish nothing more than to tear down the “neutral” internet and turn it into whatever they want it to be.

    1. avatar MDH says:

      Many years ago in my youth, my old boss at the time — a Palestinian — upon learning that I had just purchased electronic equipment from one of his ‘cousins’, grabbed the equipment out of my hand, berated his cousin (in Arabic) and got my money back, and then berated me “Don’t ever, ever, ever buy anything from an Arab!!!”

      Yes, I know this isn’t politically correct, and that this post will probably be removed, but it was good advice then, and it’s good advice now.

      1. avatar anonymoose says:

        This guy is also the half-brother of the current Lebanese PM.

      2. avatar anonymoose says:

        Never buy anything from a Chicom either.

        1. avatar Raoul Duke says:

          Well my Chicom AK disagrees.

          I and many other Chicom owners are quite happy with them.

    2. avatar Roy Johnson says:

      “social media is a cancer that needs to die if we, as a society, want an realistic future.”

      This x1000….

  6. avatar Jake says:

    Thank you.

  7. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    VERO,Not No but Eff No !

  8. avatar GrampsGuns says:

    Harder to monetize, but the only real answer here is to setup distributed social networks.
    Run the platform YOUR way.
    It’s the cost of freedom.

    Plus then you can actually DO something about trolls.

  9. avatar Shire-man says:

    Werent we all moving to MeWe, BitChute, Full30 and a bunch of other platforms only a few short years ago?
    How’d that work out?

    At this point I’m ready to go back to IRC and BBS’s.

    1. avatar Sgt Bill says:

      i am sticking with full30.com

      1. avatar Kenneth says:

        Me too. It started out pretty slow and glitchy, but it’s fine now, at least on firefox, both windows and linux. It’s still small in terms of content, but I expect steady growth, as it has been doing for the last couple years.

  10. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

    Too bad BitChute failed.

    1. avatar Mack Bolan says:

      It didn’t fail. It re branded to SPKOUT, and has since regretted that decision and has reverted to BitChute.

      Content being uploaded daily:
      https://www.bitchute.com/video/E5t9US49dDdw/

      1. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

        Thanks. I think I am still a Patreon supporter of them but got confused about their status.

  11. avatar Steve M says:

    Tim from military arms channel has made fake posts on social media in the past . His most memorable one was slander/hoax against Magpul. He posted a picture of Chinese fake MBUS sights with a busted spring. He went on to bash the product. Dozens of users called him out. He then ADMITTED he knew they were not genuine Magpul sights BEFORE the post. The clown will do ANYTHING for attention including parading in pro NRA or ANTI NRA apparel if they do or do not kiss his ass. What started as a YouTube channel with interesting tests turned into FAKE NEWS. Go to instagram and look for his Magpul post. Doubt he had time to take it down.

  12. avatar JasonM says:

    According to their privacy policy they are allowed to capture your Facebook username and other usernames of other websites and apps. Lets think about that for a second, a lot of people use one password for their social media accounts. So now a company has your Facebook username and a known password for your VERO account. This is a hackers dream.

    If they actually have raw passwords and store them that way, they need to go take a 1990’s era security class. No semi-competent software engineer or COTS web platform would ever store raw passwords in the internet age. Also, anyone dumb enough to reuse a password is probably going to click that urgent link from gooogle.com or facbook.com and enter in his username, password, social security number, and credit card anyway.

  13. avatar Chuck Finley says:

    Bitchute is the future, loads of bacon is already on there, elvis ammo and johnnys reloading bench are hinting at finding an alternative. Bitchute is cool cause its decentralized, gab.ai is launching gabtv soon, gab.ai seems to be the anti-twitter/facebook/googer

  14. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    We must be conscious of censorship at all times, realize that it’s a dynamic thing and that ultimately what starts as a free speech oriented platform may not stay that way. To this end we must keep all options open like Bitchute, minds, even VERO. At that end, I’ll go with “what about forums?” Everyone seems to have abandoned them for FB etc. even though there are some very good benefits to them. I also like IRC, but I’m old like that too. Maybe TTAG needs an IRC channel?

  15. avatar Bill says:

    Hadn’t that same person claim multiple strikes? My math is a little rusty but it would seem he would have already been banned twice? Nothing like a grown man playing victim to beg for attention. You sure none of the strikes were related to cease/desist from companies over false claims about their products?

  16. avatar Sgt at arm's says:

    Sounds like a very dumb thing for Firearms manufacturer’s to do, possibly short time advantage in exchange for possible long term damage.

  17. avatar C.S. says:

    I’ve been going to full30.com, I like it so far.

    1. avatar Pete says:

      Full30 has a ton of problems and may go away any second. Two biggest problems are money crunch and invitation-only arrangement.

      They were losing advertisers for a while. They only one that’s left now is Henry. This, in turn, leaves them no cash to maintain the site or develop it. Endless DB consistency issues is because they don’t have enough money to hire people to fix the site code. The front-end has a ton of bugs too (like the mouseovers), the player is busted on some browsers, OSD once popped never re-hides. All this continues because they just don’t have anyone left except the skeletal staff.

      The invitation-only system means that they are dependent on Youtube to find the new video producers. Only when they are established on Youtube, they can migrate over to Full30. Once Youtube purges gun channels, natural attrition will strangle Full30.

  18. avatar John in TX (Was CT) says:

    I don’t trust it. Remember “Candid”, the “bad-person”-hunting neural network created by an ex-Google employee that intentionally went out of its way to recruit center-left and further right individuals (pay youtubers to shill the thing) to tell the neural net were hateful… for the sake of selling the network to Twitter and making a billion dollars once it was “reliable”?

    They wound up selling it to Uber of all places, but still… I’m a bit gunshy of any new “free speech” platform.

  19. avatar CLarson says:

    Gab has a proven track record of supporting free speech when the rubber hits the road and is free. Speak freely on Gab. Bitchute is great for video and soon Gab TV will another option.

  20. avatar Pete says:

    Russian programmers is a problem now? That’s just liberal nonsense and propaganda.

  21. avatar Model 31 says:

    TTAGs video service?
    Not much is ever better than doing it yourself.

  22. avatar Casey says:

    To be fair, using the same password across multiple accounts is the problem, not Vero wanting to connect to everything and track you everywhere. I mean, those ARE problems, but the password thing isn’t really on them, it’s on the user who re-uses passwords.

    That said, it’s not like any of the other social medias are any better about privacy. You have to remember that the users aren’t the CUSTOMERS, they’re the PRODUCT that’s being sold. The more info they have on you the more valuable a product you are to be sold to advertisers.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I just received an urgent email which I must click on. It appears that I have won a million dollars in a contest I don’t remember entering!

    See ya, suckers!

  23. avatar CrabbyOldGuy says:

    If the service is free, you aren’t the customer. You’re the product.

  24. avatar OregunianC96 says:

    Maybe we should consider going back way back, to the days when people who wanted to say something on the internet set up their own website.

    Every once an a while you still come across relic passion projects–garish backgrounds and all. It’s all down hill from there.

  25. avatar Terclinger says:

    Not defending Vero but almost everything you complained about in their policy description is true of almost every phone app.

    “When you download the App you agree to allow VERO to receive or collect and store a unique identification number associated with your device (“Device ID”), mobile carrier, device type and manufacturer, phone number, and location data (e.g., city and state) of your mobile device.

    VERO explicitly says they are allowed to share you personal information with other parties. The privacy policy states basically that they can share what they want with whomever they want.”

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