Insider Q&A: Mark Weinstein, MeWe's anti-Facebook CEO
BOSTON (AP) — Some users have fled Facebook and Twitter after the platforms booted President Donald Trump and some of his confederates for inciting unrest and spreading false claims about election fraud. Some migrated to far-right friendly sites like Parler or Gab. Others joined a service that aims to stand apart.
MeWe is a 4-year-old, full-featured social media company positioned as an anti-Facebook. It says it does not collect data on its users, and features a Privacy Bill of Rights. In the past year, MeWe more than doubled its membership to nearly 15 million. In the week ending Jan. 12, it was downloaded 787,000 times from Apple and Google's U.S. smartphone app stores, according to SensorTower.
While Trump supporters’ disaffection with Facebook has surely helped, CEO Mark Weinstein says MeWe owes its growth to “everyone who is infuriated by their data being sold down the river” by surveillance capitalists.
Weinstein spoke to The Associated Press from his southern California home. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Q: Where are your members? Under your “freemium” model, how many people pay for services such as additional data storage and video calling?
A: The members are 50% in North America, about 24% in Asia, 24% in Europe and 2% in Australia. Some are in South America, in Brazil and Argentina. We’re translated into 20 languages. Currently 3% to 4% of our members sign up for premium. We haven't spent a penny on marketing. All our growth is organic.
Q: What does your capital investment and revenue look like? Who is behind the company?
A: We’ve got about $22 million from high net worth investors and our advisory board includes Tim Berners-Lee, founder of the World Wide Web, and Sherry Turkle, perhaps the most esteemed academic...