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Yubo is a social media app that doesn’t have likes or follows

I feel like every few months, we get a new social media that’s that’s supposed to be the “next Facebook” or the “next Twitter” or the “next TikTok”. And they’ve usually got some spin on the existing formula that’s supposed to set them apart, but I feel like eventually we always end up in the same cesspool.

Yubo, established in 2015, is one of these new up and coming social media sites, but its spin is that it’s a social media without likes and follows. It aims to bring the social aspect back to social media.

In an interview with TechCrunch last year, the co-founder and CEO Sacha Lazimi expressed the importance of building meaningful interactions. He laments on how much social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram give users a very passive experience—which makes sense because most of what you do there is scroll, like and leave the occasional fire emoji.

That’s what Yubo wants to change. It focuses more on small but meaningful conversation with people that share your interests—a place where you can come together and spend time with other people from around the world. And part of how they want to make this happen is via the app’s live-streaming rooms.

Users can create and join these rooms to “hang out” and have conversations with the users in that room. From what I understand, each room will have a couple of users who join as streamers and others who join in the chat. But, the idea here isn’t to create gigantic rooms with tens of thousands of viewers and a handful of streamers like Twitch. Lazimi says that in 95% of rooms, there are only streamers, averaging 5-10 people.

You can also add people as friends and chat with them in the app. New friends can be found in either rooms, or by swiping left and right on profile pages like you would on Tinder.

That said, Yubo’s designed to appeal to “teenagers”, which is a very young audience demographic. And that makes content moderation very important. How quickly they can shut down inappropriate content and material, as well as keep users with malicious intent off the platform is paramount.

But, the other interesting thing about Yubo is that unlike the big names like Facebook and Twitter, it operates on a freemium model. That means it’s free to use, but users can pay for additional features like boosting your live stream, promoting your profile on the Swipe page or feature your profile at the top of the online section. In short, the app doesn’t rely on ads like most major social platforms.

The implications for that seem huge as the current way ad-reliant social media platforms operate clearly need to be improved.

Currently, Yubo is enjoying incredible growth, attracting over 40 million users, most of which come from the US, UK, Canada, Australia and France. The company has also raised USD 47.5 million (~RM194.3 million) recently so it’s definitely set up to be “the next big thing” in social media.

It’ll definitely be interesting to see how this develops over time because since its start, the thing that keeps people coming back to social media has been the dopamine hit you get through likes and comments and interaction. Through being “popular” even if it’s all often just a performance.

What do you think of Yubo? Let me know in the comments below.

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