Launched in 2016, MeWe is a private social network that wants to take on the likes of Facebook and Twitter. There are no ads—targeted or otherwise—and no tracking users of any kind, such as data mining.
MeWe: The Private Social Network
When I first joined MeWe, I started looking for groups to join. I found an Apple one and a metal music group. Each group has a group chat, and depending on how many members there are, can quickly swamp you with notifications. There is no way to leave each chat, although you can mute the notifications and hide the group.
When I looked in the metal group chat, the first thing I saw was some dude asking for boob pics. I mean, I know the internet is the Wild West, but c’mon bro. If your kids join MeWe, just know that the group chat is an unmoderated chat room with strangers.
Other than that, most the of the features of MeWe are standard for a social network. You can share posts, GIFs, pictures, etc. to your Home Feed. However, by default only people in your contacts and see what you post.
Anyone can create a group, and you can choose three options: Private (invite-only), Selective (owner or admin approval required to join), and Open (anyone can join). You can opt to include the group in the MeWe group directory or not. If you change your mind later you can switch the group settings.
When it comes to chat, again it’s pretty much the same as other chat apps. You can video call, voice call, send regular chats and secret chats. Secret chats are end-to-end encrypted, and although it’s an in-app subscription, you can try it free for 30 days.
That’s how MeWe plans to stay in business. Since it doesn’t sell access to its users to advertisers, there is a MeWe Store with emojis and the secret chat feature. Presumably more content will be added over time. Getting secret chat is a subscription costing US$0.99 per month, or US$5.99 per year. Other than that the app is free.
There is also a version of the network aimed at enterprise users called MeWePRO. It has calendars and events to make organizing company tasks and events easy. It also integrates with Microsoft Office 365 so teams can work on documents simultaneously.
Overall my impression is: meh. There’s nothing wrong with MeWe, but I have social network fatigue. This isn’t going to replace any of my current social networks. However, if you can convince enough friends and family members to join, then maybe you’ll get more out of it than I did.