Hillary Clinton endorsed a new social media platform called Verrit over Labor Day weekend. The former secretary of state spoke of her excitement to join the site in a tweet that sounds like it was sculpted from the fingers of a PR team.
What is Verrit?
Her glowing recommendation isn’t so surprising when you figure out what Verrit is: a social media platform for Clinton supporters. The self-proclaimed “media for the 65.8 million” caters to those who voted Democrat in the 2016 presidential election.
Verrit is an interactive media site like Twitter but promises to provide “rigorously verified” information. Those pieces of information, which are mostly quotes and statistics—not reported news—are placed on Verrit cards and tagged with an authentication number. The unique seven-digit code is supposed to show a piece of information is fact and link back to its original source. It’s also meant to stop the spread of fake news.
2. When @Verrit was conceived as a sanctuary for Hillary voters, we anticipated 3 things from her haters: Attacks. Hacks. Childish mockery.— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) September 6, 2017
That sounds promising, but the social app has gotten off to a rocky start. Its founder, Peter Daou, who advised Clinton in the 2008 election, says the site was hit with a “pretty significant and sophisticated” DDoS attack that brought it offline. And many people questioned Clinton’s involvement after she endorsed the site (Daou told Business Insider Verrit “has no financial relationship with Clinton”). Even the Institute for Progressive Memetics, a left-wing satirical group, found issue with Verrit and created a parody Verrit card generator that led to a deluge of trolling.
What’s the purpose of Verrit?
Verrit is meant to be a sanctuary for Clinton supporters where they can hide from the current administration and its loose definitions of facts.
“When you lose a shared reality, where the definition of a fact is in question there’s no longer the possibility of civil dialogue anymore,” Daou told Business Insider. “If the person you’re arguing with says, ‘I’m not going to concede that a fact is even a fact,’ you’ve got nothing left.”
That gets us to one of Verrit’s many problems: is a social media app that throws together a bunch of quotes and facts aimed at people who already believe in them really going to start any meaningful civil dialogue? And is ignoring the ideas of the millions of Americans who voted for the other side going to put the Democratic party in a better position for the upcoming 2020 election, especially if its voters are still rallying around Clinton?
And then there is the platform itself, nothing more than a web page laid out with a bunch of static cards that have quotes and facts, like a partisan version of BrainyQuotes. Verrit at least provides links underneath each card to the original source of the quote or places where people can learn more, but that’s about as far as its features go.
I love you, Hillary, but this site seems like a bad idea. Separating ourselves in a bubble is counter-productive— Kai Franks (@kai_franks) September 3, 2017
Daou said in an interview with the Next Web that Verrit is supposed to be a place with “information you can take out to social media when you’re having debates on key issues people are discussing.”
13. @Verrit terrifies Hillary haters because it provides a harassment-free source of information, community, solidarity, and FACTS.— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) September 6, 2017
While that sounds like a somewhat practical use, it’s hard to imagine anyone taking the cards and their verification codes seriously, especially given the site’s early reception and the confusion surrounding its purpose.
As the Next Web cleverly writes, “Does he not realize that will make reasonable people – both on the left and the right – immediately switch off, just like they do when they get an email that starts with RE:FWD:FWD:RE:RE:RE:RE?”
12. Every @Verrit attack, hack, troll, and basher gets us ten times the sign-ups, social follows, emails, comments, etc. THANK YOU!!— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) September 6, 2017
Despite its faults, Verrit claims tens of thousands of people signed up on its site after Clinton’s tweet, and Daou bragged that it now has more followers than the infamous leftist podcast Chapo Trap House. What that means for its future is yet to be seen.