(Via ZEXPR) No one can argue that social media platforms like Facebook have changed the world. “Many of those changes have been for the better,” says Hang Dinh, co-founder of ExtentWorld, “It has given everyone a new outlet for self-expression, and certainly businesses have benefited from being able to easily communicate with customers across the country and around the world.” However, Hang says, there have been some downsides, too. “Incidents of hate speech and misinformation have risen, and we all know that online privacy is nowhere near the level we would like to have.” It is these problems that were the motivation for forming ExtentWorld, Hang says.
Hang worked with three other computer software engineers, including her brother, to create and launch their social media platform. “My brother is the one who thought of it,” she says. “He told me that he wanted to find a solution to all the online spying that is done on users of Facebook. He didn’t like that you could Google a coat, for example, and then see an ad for that coat on your Facebook feed.”
Hang felt the same way and liked ExtentWorld’s potential, but the scope of the idea made her doubtful at first. “His vision was ambitious, which I liked. He had excellent ideas for solving serious problems found on other platforms. What made me pause was the number of people we’d need – far more than the thirty full-time software engineers needed to make a standard platform.”
Hang couldn’t stop thinking about the necessity for ExtentWorld. “From the classes I taught as a professor, I knew social media had privacy issues. For example, Facebook tracks your internet browsing history, which to me is basically spying. With all that in mind and my brother’s solution, I came on board.”
Hang’s brother, in the meantime, invented two code-generating tools. This enabled ExtentWorld to be developed by just three developers, and as the engineers worked on the new platform, Hang saw how it was different from sites like Facebook. She especially liked its end-to-end encrypted video calling. She could now connect with her family in Vietnam and Germany without concerns about privacy. “I was sold. Once we launched ExtentWorld in 2020, I finally took the big step and deleted my Facebook account.”
To help her brother’s product realize its full potential, she formed ExtentWorld LLC. “That was definitely a step outside of my comfort zone,” Hang remembers. “I read up on forming and running businesses so that I could step in and run the company while my brother focuses on programming and coding.”
ExtentWorld has many capabilities that differentiate it from other social media platforms. One is that a user has one account with up to eight different profiles: public, private, work, academic, dating, merchant, anonymous, and secret. ExtentWorld also provides a dating service with rules that are designed to maximize the user’s privacy.
Information on ExtentWorld is organized based on locations. Each location, such as a city or a country, has a forum where the users interested in that place can view and post. However, for a location at the national level, ExtentWorld restricts free posts to people with a high reputation score.
These features have led to more investors, who may purchase eShare, which is a pre-IPO ExtentWorld common share. ExtentWorld uses eCoin for all transactions within ExtentWorld; eCoin is virtual currency but not cryptocurrency.
Hang sees a big future for ExtentWorld. “I think the social media landscape will continue to be dominated by big players for a while, but we are gaining traction as more people who are tired of their privacy being violated find out about us. Users are becoming more aware of the issues with mainstream social media and are turning to use for the solution. We already have registered users from 25 countries.”
The most challenging task for ExtentWorld’s creators has been marketing. “We are academic and technical people – we can build a good product, but we are not natural marketers. We have had to learn everything about marketing from zero,” Hang states. “In Vietnamese, we have a saying: ‘Vạn sự khởi đầu nan,’ which means ‘All things are difficult before they are easy.’ Thankfully, because of what we have learned, marketing has been becoming easier.”
Today, ExtentWorld is surpassing the co-founders’ expectations. “We are all thrilled at what our platform is accomplishing,” Hang says. “It is revolutionizing how social media is done. People can go online and keep control of their private information. It’s giving power back to our users, and that’s who should have it, don’t you agree?”