Early WhatsApp employees launch HalloApp—an antidote to contemporary social media
Two of WhatsApp's earliest employees Neeraj Arora and Michael Donohue operationalized their new private social media network called HalloApp recently. The app is similar to WhatsApp in that it allows users to interact with close friends and family but the key difference is that HalloApp positions itself as the antidote to engagement-driven social media, the "21st-century cigarette." Here are more details.
Currently, HalloApp has a 12-person team behind it and is using an undisclosed sum raised from investors to fuel their efforts. Both Arora and Donohue were WhatsApp employees before and after Facebook acquired the messaging service for $22 billion. Arora was instrumental in the Facebook deal since he was WhatsApp's Chief Business Officer until 2018. Meanwhile, Donohue served as WhatsApp's engineering director until 2019.
The Verge reported that HalloApp has four tabs—a primary feed of posts from your friends, group chats, personal one-on-one messages, and settings. Interestingly, there is no algorithm sorting the feed posts and group chats you see on the app's minimal user interface. In a blog post explaining the app's ideology, Arora said, "HalloApp is the first real-relationship network."
In the blog post, Arora touts HalloApp as a platform devoid of the usual contemporary social media fluff including bots, ads, likes, algorithms, followers, photo filters, misinformation, and "feed fatigue." While that positions HalloApp as the go-to utopian social media platform, it plans to eventually monetize by offering subscriptions that unlock additional features just like WhatsApp before it was acquired by Facebook.