What is Vero? Everything you need to know about the popular Instagram alternative

Instagram competitor Vero has seen a surge in user registrations over the course of the past week, but a dubious terms of service agreement and the prospect of usage fee has resulted in a number of customers flocking to delete the client. Here’s everything you need to know.

Why are Instagrammers flocking to Vero?

Vero has experienced a rapid upswing in popularity. Last week, the three-year-old social network had fewer than 150,000 downloads. Now it has a little less than 3,000,000 – an increase that’s thought to be the result of frustrated Instagram users looking for an ad-free alternative with a traditional chronological feed.

The application itself is nothing more than a reskinned version of Instagram that has been designed to improve on the Facebook-owned client’s shortcomings. It doesn’t, for example, use an algorithm to determine the order posts are presented in the main feed. They’re shown chronologically, based on who you follow.

There are, of course, a number of additional features designed to win Instagram users over. Customers can share links, their current location and recommendations for books, movies and music – all without leaving the Vero application. They can also share posts with different groups of friends, restricting who can see what.

Selective sharing is a tool that teenagers all over the world have spoken highly of, mainly because it allows them to hide specific posts from their family, while still sharing them with a group of peers. Parents, on the other hand, didn’t speak too highly of the feature, as it prevents them from monitoring their children.

Was Vero built by Russian hackers?

When a product is cast into the limelight, the firm behind it is often brought under the microscope – and that close examination hasn’t faired well for Vero. It’s been revealed that a number of the application’s developers are Russian, sparking concerns over whether the client can be used to manipulate users and steal data.

The concerns come amid endless reports claiming that Facebook helped facilitate the spread of fake news, which many say was promoted by Russian propaganda organisations, ahead of the all-important 2016 presidential election in the United States. It’s believed that the spread could have forced many a voter’s hand.

Related: How to delete your Facebook account permanently

Vero founder Ayman Hariri doesn’t think users have anything to worry about, however. “At the end of the day, where people are from is really not how anybody should judge anyone,” Hariri told TIME last week. “The people that I work with are incredibly talented, dedicated, honest people that care about the user experience.”

What’s wrong with Vero’s terms of service?

Nothing.

To use Vero, you have to grant it: “a royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, worldwide license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, list information regarding, translate, distribute, syndicate, publicly perform, publicly display, make derivative works of, or otherwise use your User Content.”

That may seem a little daunting at first, but it isn’t too dissimilar to the agreement Facebook, Twitter and a slew of other social networks have in place. All it means is that you are granting Vero the permission it requires to show your content to other users, and let those users share your content with other users – and so on.

How do I delete my Vero account?

Deleting your Vero account isn’t as simple as firing up the application and clicking a button. You, instead, need to submit a formal request via the firm’s website, wait for a response (it can take anywhere from a couple of minutes to a couple of days to hear back), then delete the application from your smartphone or tablet.

Let us know what you think of Vero over on Facebook or Twitter @TrustedReviews.