Almost four years after the shutdown of the once-popular social media network Orkut, its founder Orkut B\u00fcy\u00fckk\u00f6kten introduced yet another social media app \u2014 Hello Network \u2014 in April this year. Hello has been conceived to enable users with \u201cauthentic interactions\u201d around topics or things they are passionate about.\r\n\u201cThere is a need for more authentic and real interactions to bring people closer together. So we launched Hello to make social social again, and also to make social happy again. The most natural way we connect with one another in real life is through the things that we are passionate about. Hello is all about enabling users with authentic interaction around things they are passionate (about),\u201d said Orkut.\r\nHe was speaking to a wide audience during the 19th episode of the AMA (Ask Me Anything) FB Live hosted by Inc42 on Thursday.\r\n\r\nHe promised that Hello would ensure data security and privacy of its users and said there was no scope for fake news on Hello because of its inherent user \u201creputation\u201d feature that checks sharing of content.\r\n\r\nOrkut views India as one of the most significant potential markets for Hello. \u201cIndia had one of the largest communities on Orkut. People in India are very passionate, friendly, and they are also an early adopters of technologies \u2014 all these values resonate among the Indian communities,\u201d Orkut said.\r\n\r\nIndia is The Hello app has seen 35k downloads in India during its beta launch and over 100k users signing up in just three weeks.\r\n\u2018Hello Is The Spiritual Successor Of Orkut\u2019\r\nOrkut has invented four social networks so far \u2014 Club Nexus, inCircle, Orkut and the latest, Hello Network. Explaining the comeback, yet another time with a social media platform, Orkut said, \u201cSocial networks don\u2019t connect people to one another the way we connect in real life. It doesn\u2019t bring people closer together.\u201d\r\n\u201cBirthdays are one of the best examples.. In the old days, you\u2019d stop by your friend\u2019s house or call them up over the phone to say \u2018Happy Birthday!\u2019 Now, you get status updates,\u201d said Orkut. citing the drawback of social networks.\r\nSo, he hit upon the idea of connecting people in a deeper, different manner \u2014 by matching their passions \u2014 on yet another app.\r\n\r\nWhen a user signs up on Hello, the app asks her\/him to select the top-five areas of interest among the list of close to 120. Orkut justified the long list by saying, \u201cWhen I think about how people interact with their passions in real life, five is a great number that you can keep tabs on.\u201d\r\n\r\nFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg time and again reiterates he wants to \u201cbring people closer together\u201d through social media. That Facebook has rarely lived up to its promises in recent times \u2014 in fact it has sold its soul to the data devil \u2014 is common knowledge.\r\n\r\nOrkut, however, still seems to believe in the greater good of social media despite these recent fiascos. \u201cI believe with all my heart that social media can bring people together. How happy are we? How safe we are? Whether or not we find our true love \u2014 social networks expand those possibilities tremendously. I believe with Hello, we can bring the world closer together,\u201d he asserted.\r\nWhom Did You Meet On Orkut?\r\nA Stanford University PhD scholar in computer science hailing from Turkey, Orkut (43), said he was always social network savvy, \u201cWhen I joined Google, I wanted to connect people together \u2014 that\u2019s how the idea of Orkut started. Initially, the social network grew organically through word of mouth. It didn\u2019t take long for it to reach a global stage.\u201d\r\n\u201cIf you go back to the Orkut days, a cross-set community of over 300 Mn people, we saw so many magical connections happen \u2014 people connected with friends, they got new jobs, they found love, they even got married,\u201d Orkut said.\r\n\r\n\r\nThen came the obvious question. If Orkut was doing well, then why did it shut down? \r\n\u201cThe biggest mistake we did with Orkut was that we did not anticipate the initial demand. Its architecture was designed to support 300k users. However, I don\u2019t see Orkut as a failure, but as a social network which catered for that generation. We see Hello as a spiritual successor of Orkut, and a continuation of that journey,\u201d he explained.\r\nThe social media veteran had some sound advice for startup entrepreneurs in the space. He said for entrepreneurs looking to start a social network, it is very important to find what benefit they are providing to users. \u201cThere has to be a market needs that has not been addressed before. It has to cover early adopted community \u2014 who are you bringing to the platform, how are you connecting them, how are you also getting the word out,\u201d he said.\r\nHello, Your Data Is Safe \r\nIt is a known fact that social networks can track your every online move \u2014 the searches you run, the clicks you make, the photos and images you look at, the articles you read, whom you call, your emails, your daily commutes, just about everything. \r\n\r\nGrowing data privacy concerns the world over have given birth to the EU\u2019s new privacy rules, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), effective today (May 25). The GDPR gives European Internet users much greater more control over their data and privacy unlike the past.\r\n\r\nUnlike Facebook\u2019s Zuckerberg, Orkut seems to have respect for data security and privacy. Emphasising the importance of protecting user data, Orkut says, \u201cIt is so important to get users\u2019 consent before collecting their data. In the past, social networks started prioritising advertisements, third parties, brands, and companies on their platform. Over time, people lost trust over social networks. They even started sharing data with third parties without being open about it. Oftentimes, they hide behind terms of service, privacy and policy, but we all know that\u2019s all in fine print and no one actually reads them.\u201d\r\nOrkut On Fake News & Data Privacy Fiascos\r\nWhile asserting that most social networks don\u2019t care if users are fake as long as they help them grow their user base and prove engagement on their platform, Orkut claimed that Hello has an inherent mechanism to check fake news. \u201cWe don\u2019t allow fake accounts on hello. Users are champions on hello\u201d. \r\n\u201cOn Hello, we have a reputation system. Over time, when people interact with other people, their reputation goes up and down. When you share content, distribution depends on how much reputation you have. As a result, something like fake news will never happen on Hello because any new random user will not be able to distribute content at a wide level,\u201d said Orkut.\r\nOrkut added that most social networks are not driven to improve user experience and happiness, which is why there are so many fake accounts. \u201cAnd that is not something that they want to get rid of because it makes their numbers look so good,\u201d he added.\r\n\r\nIn the aftermath of Facebook-Analytica scandal spurred over data privacy, Facebook released the global statistics on the data it took down for the first time. According to the report, 3-4% of the total monthly active users were using fake accounts. The percentage was consistent in the first quarter of 2018 with a total 583 Mn accounts of 2.19 Bn monthly active users.\r\n\r\nWhen asked to comment on the competition Hello faces from social media giants like Facebook, Orkut said Facebook and Hello Network can co-exist happily on the social networking space because they are not overlapping products. \r\n\r\nThe man who wants to make social happy again, has strong views on the data privacy mess up created by FB and social media platforms.\r\n\u201cJust apologising to users saying we screwed up is not a valid apology, especially when you have millions of users, their data and their network. You have to keep that very precious. That\u2019s one of the most important assets we have, our network.\u201d\r\nLet\u2019s hope he can clean up the social networking act with Hello.