MeWe, the subscription-based social network that emphasizes privacy and bills itself as the anti-Facebook, is launching a premium tier of its service and spinning up a business-focused product to take on enterprise networking and communication tools like Slack.
Founded by Mark Weinstein, a gregarious serial entrepreneur who credits himself with being an early developer of the social media concept, MeWe has amassed several million users in its drive to be the alternative to Facebook.
Launching after Ello, Weinstein says the challenges he witnessed that company going through provided some invaluable lessons for how he wanted to build out his own challenge to Facebook’s social media dominance.
“We were engineering when Ello had their shot at the moon and then crashed back to earth. They may have motivated 21 million people, but their servers couldn’t handle it, they were desktop only and the project was too soon,” Weinstein said.
The company operates under a freemium model, where its newsfeed, custom camera, ephemeral content, 8 gigs of storage, life voice and video and custom stickers are all free. Businesses can pay for additional features for $1.99 per month.
“Social media wasn’t invented for surveillance capitalism,” says Weinstein. And while MeWe is relatively permissive when it comes to speech, Weinstein says it has rules around posting hate speech, inciting violence and bullying. That said, “we’re not going to censor you because you’re talking about a political view we do or don’t agree with.”
Alongside the premium MeWe product for social networking, the company is also launching a separate business line for enterprise collaboration.
Weinstein says there are already several thousand users on the enterprise toolkit, which is out of beta and includes end-to-end encrypted chat, integrations with Windows 360 and features for tagging, polls, a custom camera and voice and video conferencing embedded in its suite of services.
MeWe’s premium tier will cost $4.99 per month and the company’s professional service has a two-tiered approach, with a $3.99 and $7.99 price point.