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Posted on October 15, 2014 by in Identity & Privacy, Personal

Ello Privacy & Social Media Security – What You Should Know

There’s a new social network on the block, and some people are saying that it could give Facebook a run for its money. The site, Ello, is being called the “anti-Facebook” because of its commitment to privacy and offering an ad-free service.

You may have seen your friends on various social media websites asking for Ello invitations, which is only increasing the buzz around the network even more. Ello is currently invitation-only, so you must know someone that is already on the network to create an account.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, so we wanted to take a closer look at Ello and how they protect their users. We admire their goal to provide a more authentic and transparent social media experience, but we are also afraid that this type of environment may result in users letting their guards down and becoming more vulnerable to the theft of their personal information.

Why are people talking about Ello?

The folks at Ello did not set out to conquer the world when they launched in July 2014. They wanted to create a simple social network that was free of all the clutter and ads we find elsewhere on the web. Their big boost in popularity came in September 2014 when Facebook got serious about its policy that users must display their real names on their profiles. Many members of the LGBTQ community, artists, performers, and individuals concerned about social media privacy decided to leave Facebook and find another social website to call their home. That’s when they found Ello and the company began receiving more invitations than they knew how to keep up with.

The 3 biggest reasons people are flocking to Ello are:

  • You are not required to use your real name.
  • The promise that they will remain ad-free forever.
  • Information is not sold to third parties, like advertisers.

This type of business model is refreshing, but there are certain things that users need to know before creating profiles and celebrating freedom from Big Brother.

Where Ello’s privacy protection may fall short

Ello is still in beta. That means it is being released in stages and may look completely different within days of a person signing up. Features are being tested and users should expect to occasionally run into bugs. When a site is in beta, so much can change – or go wrong. There are currently 7 people running Ello; do you think they are 100% equipped to maintain social media security; protecting you from hackers and online thieves?

Additionally, Ello’s privacy policy tells the truth about their involvement with third parties. No, they do not sell your information to advertisers like other websites, but that does not mean you are completely protected. The Ello privacy policy says:

“We may share some of your personal information with third parties under several circumstances, including (1) if you tell us it is OK to do so (2) if we believe that we need to do so by law (3) if we contract a third party service provider to offer services for you – for example, we may need to pass your payment information along to a credit card processing company if you decide to buy something on Ello… Ello does not have any affiliated companies right now. But if we do in the future, we may share some information with them.”

Ello also reminds users that their platform is for posting and sharing public content. With that in mind, you should assume that anything you post on Ello can be accessed by others. Ello does seem to protect you more than the average social media website, but never let your guard down and assume your personal information is completely safe.

Interested in learning more about social media security and how to stay safe? Learn how to protect yourself by reading our list of social media safety tips.