Amsterdam business owner launches ‘happy social network’

AMSTERDAM — Anthony Constantino has said he’s had enough of what he sees as the negativity permeating social media.

Co-owner of Sticker Mule, an Amsterdam-based sticker, decal and label company, Constantino launched Stimulus, which replaces traditional social media advertising with giveaways. It hopes to generate more authentic interactions between users.

“Go to Twitter’s Trending Topics page for a few minutes and see how much hate is being spewed out in viral tweets. Facebook is a never-ending stream of ads that captures your private information,” Constantino said. “How are you supposed to find out what your friends and family are doing or feel safe online? »

What makes Stimulus different from other social networks? This is primarily the feature that allows users to enter giveaways by “restimming” – which refers to liking, commenting or sharing a post. Launched in June 2022, Stimulus aims to give away $1 million and has currently surpassed $100,000 in giveaways to verified users.

The funds offered come from the redirection of online advertising money from participating brands. To create a profile on Stimulus, brands are required to offer giveaways on the platform. The difference between the Stimulus advertising model and other platforms is that the money is then directed to users.

Although the giveaway feature is still in beta testing, the network is accepting a limited number of early contributors who pledge to donate a minimum of $25,000 over six months.

Constantino said they add credibility to the system. “All giveaways are administered by us, the money is moved by us, and the winner is randomly chosen by our code,” he said.

One thing that sets Stimulus apart is that the platform requires user identity verification to ensure that all accounts have a real face behind them, as well as to verify that no user has more than one account. . Since its soft launch this summer, over 10,000 people have joined the network as verified users with over 30,000 unverified users.

“When you have real people operating under their real identities and you don’t have an incentive structure in place that encourages meanness, people are going to behave more like they behave in real life and that level of meanness. will not happen,” Constantin added.

No representatives from Facebook and Twitter returned calls for this story. Companies say they have help centers and are taking other steps to improve privacy and fight fake or hateful posts.

The “happy social network” also aims to decrease the number of users posting mainly to chase status and popularity. The number of followers is hidden, visible only to users themselves, to discourage competition between accounts.

“We don’t want people to rate themselves by how many followers they have because that contributes to some of the toxic behaviors we’re seeing,” Constantino said.

The Amsterdam-based company plans to announce a full launch that includes the giveaway feature in the near future. “Our indicator of success for Stimulus would be if people looked at it and said, ‘Damn, why didn’t we do this from the start? adds Constantine.

To learn more about Stimulus, visit the network’s website.

About Nereida Nystrom

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