Is ad-free Gravvity a 'healthier’ social media app?

Concerns over the negative effects of social media are becoming more common, so could a new kind of ad-free app give us a healthier social media experience?
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

The COVID-19 pandemic, while increasing our use of social media, has also changed the way we look at our social feeds. Now, a new app aims to put the user back in control of their ad-free feed, giving them control of what type of content they will see on their newsfeed.

During a time where human-interaction has been limited, users have been gravitating to social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to stay connected with one another and feel a sense of community. But are these social media platforms good for your mental health?

Ad-free Gravvity - a healthier social media app zdnet

Toronto-based social media company Gravvity is about to release an app that aims to address the flaws in the current social media platforms to give them a healthier and happier news feed.

The app has moved away from ego-stroking likes and follower counts and is focusing instead on its users' privacy and wellness to create, as it says, a "healthier alternative to the current platforms."

It has been designed to specifically address the negative effects of traditional social media platforms, which drive you toward content the platforms want you to see (i,e, ads), taking you away from what your own preferences are (chatting to your friends and finding out what they are up to).

Essentially, the platform is a fully-featured chat app that acts as a social media hub, customized to show the content you want to see.

Customers can configure the feed to see all of their social media feeds in one place instead of flipping across all of the apps to get the information they need.

Like a similar ad-free app MeWe, feeds are arranged chronologically so that users can see when their friends post across any platform and reduce the FOMO (fear of missing out) that some users have.

If users do want to see ads in their feed, they can turn their own feed into a billboard that is rented out to advertisers and will share advertising revenue equally with users who do choose to see ads and deals in their feeds.

Jerry Chien, co-founder, and CEO of Gravvity, said: "Social media apps are exploiting people for their data and attention. Our mission is to empower people to enjoy the benefits of being socially connected without being exploited."

Social media platforms are built by developers and are designed to keep users on the platform as long as possible to see as many ads as possible.

Unfortunately, this can lead to social media addiction through increased use of the platform.

Spending so much time on social media can also create unhealthy habits that can surface in our everyday behavior. Users can fall victim to experiences and one-sided views that can cause emotional harm and distress.

You can sign up to join the Gravvity waitlist now before its April 2021 launch. Will the new app give you a healthier social experience? If you have surrounded yourself with people in your social feeds who share the same worldview as you and who agree with everything you say, you will never be challenged or stretch yourself to see the other person's point of view.

If you subscribe to, share, and chat about fake news and rumors without fact-checking, then seeing the same friends sharing the same content through a new app will not make too much of a difference.

Having an ad-free platform is not going to make that much of a difference to your life if you subconsciously scroll past ads already. 

However, with the growing awareness that social media feeds can actually cause great harm, any effort to create a nicer social world is got to be worth looking out if only to change our mental health for the better.

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