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What the Ello? Upstart Social Network Poaches Facebook Users

Check Out the Web's Newest Social Network 0:27

Seen a few of your more creative Facebook friends posting about their new home on some site called Ello? You're not the only one. People are flocking at the rate of tens of thousands per hour to this new invite-only social network, which promises to be ad-free forever and, despite all posts being public, respectful of your privacy in ways Facebook has shown it isn't. Paul Budnitz, who started Ello, told NBC News in an email that he's not sure what caused the recent rush: "We can't point to a single cause... It's people from all over the world."

It could be that Facebook's latest PR misstep, requiring drag queens to use only their real names, may have galvanized the media-savvy contingent on Facebook to try something new — something less rigidly structured. "Ello doesn't have ads. And we don't sell data," said Budnitz. "And so we don't need people to use their real names." Right now the network is rather barebones, with critical features (like blocking and privacy) missing, but the folks behind it are working to accommodate the new demands: "Honestly, we weren't expecting this kind of growth for many months, but it's happening, so we're going with it."

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—Devin Coldewey