Until We Meet Again...
March 21, 2016
Nearly a decade ago, we started Experience Project with a mission of harnessing social media to bring empathy and understanding to all, through the power of anonymously shared human experience. Since then, tens of millions of experiences have been shared by hundreds of millions of people. Users have gotten married, saved each other's lives, and entertained and comforted each other late into the night. Every single day, we've been privileged to see community members find connection to ideas, feelings, and people that changed their lives.
However, many important things have changed since 2006 that risk both our ideals and our ability to deliver on them. So, it is with heavy hearts that we have decided to pause this chapter in Experience Project history and regroup for the future, rather than risk our beliefs, and more importantly, our users' trust. We've struggled mightily with this decision for a long time, and pursued every reasonable alternative, but we are confident that it is the right thing to do at this time. If you'd like to understand more detail about this decision, please read more here.
We created EP to provide a safe, private place online to share the experiences that mattered most, and to deliver it fairly and reliably to every user, however and wherever they were comfortable. Doing good for the world was not a side effect, it was the goal.
Over the last decade, while social media has evolved from Blogger to Snapchat, and become increasingly focused on pictures, short text, and individual popularity, EP remained focused on anonymous, long-form text stories from everyday people who were recognized for their experiences above all else. From day one, privacy of our users has been paramount, and we have never allowed names, phone numbers, or addresses. This approach bucked every trend, and challenged our ability to build an advertising-based business, but we passionately believe it provided the foundation for some of the most meaningful relationships imaginable. And you are proof that we were right! But there is no denying that the way people expect to use social media today is markedly different than it once was, and as the primary use has moved from web to mobile, our hallmark attributes like long-form stories are not aligned.
But, there are deeper, and more troubling trends than formats. Online anonymity, a core part of EP, is being challenged like never before. Governments and their agencies are aggressively attacking the foundations of internet privacy with a deluge of information requests, subpoenas, and warrants. We, of course, always support proper law enforcement efforts, but the well-documented potential for even abuse, even if unintentional, is enormous, and growing.
At the same time, scores of new laws require compliance with intricate, sometimes contradictory, data privacy regulations for each country, territory, and even state. For example, today there are nearly 30 different agencies that can decide whether sending data, for example, a private message from your inbox, between Europe and the US is "proper."
Finally, the sophistication of "bad apples," as few as they thankfully are, has increased dramatically. They are better able to cover their tracks and evade user bans by using mobile and encryption networks, and they use information to exploit the trust of others through social engineering. These advances, of course, relate to the first point about increasing government information gathering, in an ever escalating game of cat and mouse.
None of these are insurmountable problems, but they require immense resources to address reliably, effectively, and safely at scale. Those are outside the reach of all but a tiny handful of massive companies like Facebook and Google.
So it is with these themes in mind that we have come to the conclusion that it is better to freeze what we have today, instead of letting it erode, and affect our ability to deliver value, safety, and to respect our users' trust and expectations.
What does this all mean? On April 21, 2016, we are pressing "pause" on the site, and will no longer be supporting future posts, messages, or new registrations. We have built tools that will enable you to export your contributions , or delete your account , and will leave those tools up for the foreseeable future. As it should be, what you want to do with your content is up to you. Most stories on EP are timeless, and if you leave yours up, they will undoubtedly help countless others. Over time, we hope to determine how to better realize our mission in the future.
Experience Project is a very big idea that you have made a reality. The need for it -- for empathy, for comfort, for making sure no one ever feels alone -- is as critical as ever. Thank you for being part of this journey with us, and we hope that we can say "welcome home" again in the future.
With love and appreciation,
Your Experience Project Team
Your Experience Project Team
Important Next Steps
How do I export my content so that I can save it?
How do I delete my account and/or posts?
Will I still be able to use the MeToo app?
No. We will be removing the log-in abilities from the site and the apps on April 21st at 4:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time.
Can I still browse the site?
Yes, you can still browse through publically available content on the site. To do so, make sure that you're logged out.
What about my past supporter/chat payments?
Your monthly payment subscriptions have already been cancelled and you will not be charged in the future. Any accounts that currently have a gold supporter star will still be able to keep the feature until the log-in abilities are halted on April 21st, or the user deletes his or her account.
Will Experience Project return in the future?
I have more questions
Thank you for supporting us in this journey. Though we will not have staff available to answer questions and assist with account issues in the future, urgent issues can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org