What is Vero, and why are Instagram users signing up to it?

Vero recently shot to fame as thousands of Instagram users flocked to sign up to the service. Despite being available for three years, the app available for iOS and Android had fewer than 150,000 downloads prior to March 2018. But then, within weeks, the app exploded and now boasts over 3 million downloads. The surge in sign-ups is thought to be down to controversial moves used by Instagram, namely the algorithmic feed and the ever-increasing number of ads that are appearing on the service.

Vero, on the other hand, doesn’t offer any ads on the app. At all. The app’s creator says that to do this, the service will eventually be paid-for with only early subscribers able to continue accessing the service for free.

The app itself is nothing more than a reskinned version of Instagram that allows you to post more than photos; you can post music, book and movie recommendations, your current location and more, all without leaving the app. If a friend shares a song recommendation, you can even listen to the song in-app via an Apple Music subscription.

Oh, and it features the coveted chronological feed that users are begging Instagram to bring back.

Vero also offers a Google Plus-esque feature that allows you to share specific things with specific networks, split up into Acquaintances, Friends and Close Friends. It’s a feature spoken highly of by teens around the world, namely because it allows them to easily hide specific posts from family members, but parents tend not to share the same view.

Of course, any company that is thrust into the limelight is open to scrutinisation by the press and users, and Vero is no different. It was revealed that a number of the app’s developers were Russian, which caused concerns about whether the app would be able to manipulate users with fake news and steal sensitive data.

The app’s founder put minds to rest, though. Speaking to TIME, Ayman Hariri said that “At the end of the day, where people are from is really not how anybody should judge anyone,” and that “the people that I work with are incredibly talented, dedicated, honest people that care about the user experience.”

What about Vero’s Terms of Service?

Another concern is about Vero’s Terms of Service – what can Vero do with all the content that is uploaded to the platform? You’ve got nothing to worry about, as the ToS are fairly standard for social media sites.

To use Vero, you have to agree to “a royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, worldwide license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, list information regarding, translate, distribute, syndicate, publicly perform, publicly display, make derivative works of, or otherwise use your User Content.”

It might sound a bit daunting on the surface, but all it really asks is your permission to share your content with other users, and to allow those users to share said content with their friends, and so on. It’s a similar policy to that used by Facebook, Twitter and a slew of other social networks, and isn’t really anything you should worry about.

Can I delete my Vero account?

It’s always good to have an exit plan, and this is also true for social networks. While in the early days you had to head over to the Vero website and submit a formal request to delete your account, the good news is that, if you want to, it's now as easy as deleting your Facebook account

If you want to delete your Vero account, simply open the app, hit the Settings icon (cog), select your account and tap Delete Account. The process is instant and automatic, with all user data removed from Vero's servers within 24 hours.