MeWe: Is It Safe for Teens?

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MeWe: Is It Safe for Teens?

February 1, 2021
Green Zone

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Green Zone.
We believe this app is a STARTING POINT for your student, but that you must monitor your student on every app they are on. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Gray Zone

Parents and Teachers: Please note this app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Gray Zone.
Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe.
Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Red Zone

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Red Zone. We believe this app is not safe for students to use without adult supervision. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Dangerous Social media challenges

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge. Knowing about social media challenges before your teen does can help you keep them safe before an incident occurs. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Table of Contents

MeWe saw an enormous spike in popularity early in 2021 after other social networks began heavily censoring messages and users on their platforms.  The app is marketed for those who want more privacy and control of their social media, but MeWe has become known for being uncensored.

What is the MeWe app?

MeWe app logo
  • MeWe is a social network marketed for users who want more privacy 
  • Users connect with friends, family and groups with common interests.  The MeWe Privacy Bill of Right says users “own your personal information & content.  It is explicitly not ours,” which is unlike other social media apps 
  • Additionally, MeWe says the company does not track user data to sell to third-parties or to use to target advertising content  
  • MeWe has become more popular as other social networks like Facebook and Instagram have ramped-up their censorship of what users share 
  •  Signing up and basic use of MeWe is free, but “enhancement” add-ons and the premium subscription are available for monthly purchase 
  •  MeWePRO is a commercial product offered as a separate app and website by the company for business, non profit and education communications. (Similar name, same company, different product.)
  • Founded and owned by Mark Weinstein
  • Officially launched in 2016

MeWe app marketing says:

  • “Social sharing where people can be their true, authentic selves”
  • Protecting our members: haters, bullies, porn, spammers, bots, lawbreakers, violence inciters, etc. are prohibited. 
  • #Not4sale: user data is not for sale for advertisers, marketers or politicians. 
  • “Illegal activity is not permitted.  If we are made aware of illegal activity, we will take appropriate action.” - MeWe

The MeWe app in the news:

USA Today headline: Facebook rival MeWe gains 2.5M members in a wee as users seek privacy. Tech Crunch headline: Following riots, alternative social apps and private messengers top the app stores

Where is MeWe available?

Cost of using MeWe

  • Basic use of MeWe is free, but “enhancement” add-ons and the premium subscription ($4.99/month)  are available
  • MeWePRO is a commercial product offered as a separate app and website by the company for business, non profit and education communications-similar name, same company, different product

Features of MeWe

MeWe app Guide screen shot of Sign up, it's free! and Member log in
  • Home: scroll through the news feed to see photos and posts from your “Contacts” and Communities.  Users can create a dedicated newsfeed to see only “close friends” vs. posts from all their contacts
  • Communities: search to find MeWe groups focusing on various topics (everyone starts with MeWe News and Updates group)
  • Chats: chats can be between two people or multi person in text form, or voice/video call
  • Notifications: users can see reactions and comments to what they have posted on their timeline
  • Enhancements: For monthly fee users can pay for premium subscription and upgrades:  Journals, MeWe Hearts, Dark Theme, and more

What should parents know?

  • MeWe is marketed for users to be their “true authentic selves,” which may encourage youth to make reckless decisions to gain social media popularity
  • The company admitted they are struggling to keep up with monitoring.  Hate speech and pornography are not being caught or removed very quickly
  • Usage is heavily linked to groups that have been banned or censored from Facebook and Twitter
  • While MeWe marketing says they don’t sell data for advertising or marketing, don’t be deceived to believe that they aren’t tracking at all
  • Reviews in the App Store mentioned cases of viruses suspected to have come from the app

What can parents do?

  • Before giving your child access to an app, download it, spend some time using it, then determine if the app is safe for your family
  • Explain to your student that nothing in social media or online is truly private or protected and every interaction is a chance to shine online, regardless of who they think can or cannot see their content
  • Talk with your students about the people and types of groups that are appropriate for them to follow on social media
  • Discuss with your student what to do if they come across pornographic photos or videos or hate speech that makes them feel uncomfortable
  • Let your students know they can come to you if they experience anything uncomfortable online
  • Enroll in the SmartSocial VIP (Very Informed Parent) program for more information about apps like MeWe and how to help your student shine online

Conclusion

MeWe operates similarly to other popular social media sites with the newsfeed created by posts of other users and groups you follow.  The company says the app operates differently “behind the scenes” to give users more privacy and control of their content and experience. 

Students may want to engage with this app as they hear the popularity increase around the world.  The MeWe theory of more user control essentially leaves the door wide open to foul language, pornography and illegal activities that can have negative effects on students as they use the app.

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