After Elon Musk announced a temporary reading limit on Twitter recently, users are searching for new platforms to engage with—one the latest of those being the new Black-owned social media app, Spill.
The goal of the new app, which launched in mid-June, is to become “the de facto platform to discover and discuss culture worldwide,” according to the app’s Apple Store description. Users can post their thoughts along with gifs and photos on the app.
A beta-version of Spill, founded by former Twitter employees Alphonzo “Phonz” Terrell and Devaris Brown, is currently live, but the app is still invite-only. Some additional 130,000 users signed up for Spill in early July, and the app was the third most downloaded app on the Apple App Store on Monday. Users who are looking to experience the new platform can join the waitlist on the Spill website.
Here’s what we know about the app.
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How the app came to be
Spill was “built around creating safety for diverse communities,” which the founders have referred to as “culture drivers,” according to AfroTech,
Safety online has especially been an issue on Twitter given the rise in hate speech since Musk’s takeover. Musk has also been a controversial figure head for the company, announcing just last week that the word “cisgender,” which refers to someone whose gender identity matches their sex at birth, was going to be considered a slur on Twitter. Twitter was also considered the “most dangerous platform for LGBTQ people,” according to GLAAD’s 2023 Social Media Safety Index report.
Terrell also previously said that Spill is being designed by diverse developers who are programming the artificial intelligence on the platform to monitor abuse or hate against communities of color.
“Everybody who’s in Black Twitter or any of these other communities knows that it’s powered by Black women. Setting all the trends and all of that is part of that, but also getting way more hate than any other group. It’s actually insane, when you actually look at it statistically. And then just any marginalized group. If you’re queer, you’re in certain, historically targeted groups overseas, it’s awful to be online and be on social,” Terrell told AfroTech.
Social media users appear to be looking for a new platform to engage with, according to Pew Research Center, which reported that users that were once “highly active” on Twitter are posting less frequently, and 25% of American users say they probably will not use Twitter a year from now. Advertising revenue on the app has also decreased by nearly 60% from April to May, according to the New York Times, showing the app’s rather rapid decline.
Similar to Twitter’s “For You” and “Following” feed, Spill has a left tab labeled “Fresh Tea,” which has trending content, and a right tab called “My Brew,” with posts from people users follow. Posted content is referred to as a “spill.”
How does Spill differ from the new app Threads
Other alternatives to Twitter are also rising in popularity, including the current No. 1 app on the Apple App Store, Threads.
Threads is almost identical to Twitter and has garnered at least 5 million sign-ups since it launched on July 5. The Meta-owned app allows users to sign up through their Instagram accounts. That feature is designed to make it easier for users to follow their Instagram friends that are on Threads, But, it also means that in order to delete your Threads account, you would have to delete your Instagram account too.
Spill differs from Threads in that it appears to be much more gif and photo forward, and allows for monetization of viral posts. That means that Spill users can earn money for a viral post. Spill’s designers are also ensuring that creators get credit for their posts, and are using blockchain technology to track what users post.
“Compensation starts with getting credit,” Terrell said to Afrotech. “Who originated this and that’s always been a really big challenge online. So, that’s why we looked at technologies like blockchain. We can create an immutable record, regardless if you’re on the platform or not, of who created what.”
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