Anxiety-free social media? Maven thinks it has a formula for it

What would social media be like without likes or followers? Now you can find out.
Written by Don Reisinger, Contributing Writer
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Yuichiro Chino/Getty Images

It's no secret social media websites are awash with negative, abusive, and stress-inducing content. It's as if their very function encourages it - and harms users in the process. But a new social network backed by some of Silicon Valley's biggest names hopes to change that.

Maven is a new social network that launched earlier this year but is just starting to catch on. The platform ditches likes, follower counts, and algorithms that push attention-getting or provocative content. Instead, it uses artificial intelligence to try to get to the bottom of what users actually want.

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For instance, when users post about a topic they have an interest in on Maven, the platform's AI analyzes it, tags it, and serves that content not to the person's followers (remember: they don't have any), but to a community of users who have also shown interest in that topic. From there, users can engage in a dialogue on the topic without worrying about whether their posts will get likes.

Additionally, Maven uses a content discovery filter that allows users to decide whether they want to see content only focused on the topics they've shown an interest in or additional topics that Maven's AI has determined they may like. Users can also mute topics they don't care about and flag other users' posts if they find them abusive. However, Maven's CTO Jimmy Secretan told Wired that the company hasn't seen widespread abuse on its platform so far.

"It's not just getting in some great one-liner or dunking on the other person, because that just doesn't get you much on this site," Secretan said.

Still, the companies that have succeeded at the highest level in social media -- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter/X -- have done it on the backs of users searching for likes and engaging in decidedly unhelpful conversations. Whether Maven can flip the script and succeed by being a less anxiety-inducing platform is decidedly up for debate.

That said, the company has the backing of some powerful people to help it make its vision a reality. While Maven didn't disclose how much it's raised so far, the company's lead investor has been Twitter co-founder Ev Williams. Maven has also received funding from OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, the company told Wired. And while it needs to raise additional funds in the next few months to keep going, having the backing of such major Silicon Valley heavyweights should go a long way.

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Those looking to try out Maven can check out the social network's web app, or download its Android app from Google Play or its iOS app from Apple's App Store. Upon doing so, you can choose topics you're interested in and start posting content. As of this writing, Haven doesn't appear to have too many users or be all that active, but if it can get the funding required to grow, and users like the idea of a no-likes, no-followers environment, that could change in a big way.

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