Jersey City — The tea is hot and ready to Spill.
The latest of Elon Musk’s changes to Twitter have resulted in what the internet has dubbed a great migration to a newly-developed, Black-owned social media app – Spill.
Recently, Musk used his personal Twitter account to announce media consumption limits set by the platform to “address extreme levels of data manipulation.” The new limit allows verified Twitter accounts (also known as paid Twitter blue subscribers) to read up to 6,000 posts per day. Unverified (or unpaid users) accounts can read up to 600 posts per day, while recently made unverified accounts are capped at up to 300 tweets per day.
Rather than dwelling on the new limits, Black Twitter users opted into downloading Spill instead. The beta-mode app was founded by the ex-Twitter employees Alphonzo “Phonz” Terrell and DeVaris Brown who had visions of building a social platform that put the safety of marginalized communities first.
The app launched earlier this year with a $2.75 million pre-seed round with over 60,000 platform handle reservations as of January.
After Musk announced the new limits to Twitter, it was not long before Spill reached No.1 in the Apple App Store, despite the fact of it being an invite-only platform at this time.
As a curious tech journalist, I had to find my way in to see what the hype was about. I found an invite code online and got on-boarded pretty fast. Considering that the app is still in beta mode, I was impressed by the existing features.
Immediately after on-boarding new users are greeted by community guidelines that prioritize Spill’s commitment to DEI. Users are able to see this information in a format that is similar to pitch deck that explains why Spill is different from its competitors.
Some of the major takeaways for me on the technical side of the platform is that Spill was intentionally built with AI models made by marginalized communities. Implicit bias in AI has long been critiqued and Spill is working against it with a “for us, by us” model — ensuring that all marginalized communities are represented and understood in space.
A lot of the informational material on Spill links out to shared drive links, which is pretty common for any app in its beta stages. But, beyond the preliminary materials that users see once they are onboard, the app itself is very functional and technical.
On the platform, users are able to upload gifs, videos, and images with text written over the content which in my opinion, allows the platform to operate as a hybrid approach to both Twitter and Instagram.
Most users on the platform are still figuring it all out (as I am too) but I can say my early days of exploration have been enjoyable. The app is simple to move through and while I’m not sure it will be in my rotation of platforms, Spill seems to be catching the attention of many others.
Keeping it gee, Spill’s early days of success is likely due to its approach of building a product for underserved communities, first. Even with Twitter’s legacy as a huge social platform, modern day social media users are seeking out innovative and inclusive platforms with values that align to their own.
Miranda Perez (she/her/hers) is a Jersey City, NJ-based journalist who covers the tech industry. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @mimithegee.
Edited by NaTyshca Pickett