AS any regular social media user knows, time spent on the various platforms on offer can often be a curse rather than a blessing. Now a new kid on the block is taking them on, aiming to “be kind”.

What’s it called?

Telepath, which bills itself as “a new social network for public conversation”. The company is the brainchild of entrepreneurs Marc Bodnick and Richard Henry, who both previously had senior roles at Quora, a US question-and-answer website where questions are posed and responded to by internet users. 

So what’s the goal?

At a basic level, Bodnick  said: “We want to build the best platform for infinite, threaded, social conversation…My ambition is for Telepath to build a community which is great for women, people of colour and LGBTQ+ writers, where disinformation doesn’t proliferate and where the overall tone is very kind.”

It’s just getting going?

Telepath has been operating privately in the early stages, with around 4000 users and is now inviting more people to join the network, where people sign up to follow their chosen conversational topics, grounding communication on shared interests.


It has a way to go before catching up with Twitter, a giant in the field with 330 million monthly active users and 145 million daily active users, although concern grows over the issue of online abuse and trolling on the platform. Just last month, Amnesty International accused Twitter of “not doing enough to protect women users” - previous studies from the charity show women are abused on Twitter every 30 seconds.

One of the rules on Telepath is to be kind?

The rules state bluntly: "Be kind. Don't be mean. Don't attack people or insult what they post. Assume that other people have good intentions.” Another rule is not to "circle the drain", advising users to just let it go in an argument and not fight for the last word.

How is this enforceable, though?

Telepath will focus on post moderation. Meanwhile, to sign up - you can presently request to join the waiting list for an account - users are asked to give their mobile, which is verified with a code sent by text to be input on screen. This differs from Facebook, which does use a similar real-name policy, but only asks for a functioning email address to sign up, making it easier for bots to join, and Twitter only requires an email address.

What about free speech?

The founders say they want users to be able to speak out and conversational groups on the platform include the anti-Donald Trump thread called #dumbhitler, while there’s also a group called #piersmorgansucks.

But the core aim…

…is to have a platform free of hate speech and disinformation, the firm says. Telepath’s head of community and safety, Tatiana Estevez, said: “We won’t allow trolls/misogynists to get away with repeatedly trolling on the edge of our rules. In addition to misogyny, we’re also focused on racism & transphobia…Be Kind is our central rule.”