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Spill, The New Black-owned Social Media Platform Vying To Compete With Twitter


Following their exit from working at Twitter for several years, Alphonzo "Phonz" Terrell and DeVaris Brown embarked on a new social media platform that could rival Twitter.

Spill is a "meme-forward" social platform that the founders describe as a “real-time conversation platform that puts culture first.”

Terrell, Twitter's former global head of social and editorial employee, said it took him and Brown, a former product manager lead at Twitter, realizing that there is no limitation to what one can create if you realize you just have to take the first step.

"I think we get into these rooms, and I've had this experience to where we feel like, 'All right, the people in senior positions are just there because they're so much smarter than me, or their credential, their skill,'" Terrell said in an interview with AfroTech. "And I think a lot of that was demystified for me when, especially towards the end, I just realized, 'Oh a lot of this is just the audacity.' Just having the guys to say, 'I'm doing this.'"

Spill will likely be a leap for the founders and all of social media, disrupting a new industry standard by preserving Black joy and fostering its flourishing. The aim will be to "fix some sins of the past."

Alphonzo "Phonz" Terrell and DeVaris Brown
(L to R) Alphonzo "Phonz" Terrell and DeVaris Brown

The founders hired a diverse team of developers, working to train the platform's artificial intelligence, according to This is a critical step in an effort to monitor social media, as the goal is to be able to detect signals of abuse that have adversely impacted Black and brown folks, Terrell said.

"From a fact-based standpoint, let's talk about Black women," Terrell said. "They over-index on social and medial consumption by like 40% over any other identified group in this country. Everybody who's in Black Twitter or any of these other communities knows that it's powered by Black women. Setting all the trends and all of that is part of that, but also getting way more hate than any other group. It's actually insane, when you actually look at it statistically. And then just any marginalized group. If you're queer, you're in certain, historically targeted groups overseas, it's awful to be online and be on social."

Still, these creators are trying to find the best way to build this kind of positive platform, while also ensuring Black folks are fairly compensated. To date, there is still a double-edged sword when it comes to social media's impact on marginalized communities. Factor in monetization and social media impact, Black folks can still receive far less compensation than their counterparts who make viral videos.

It is the aim of Spill to use blockchain technology for Black folks to better profit from their viral moment.

"Compensation starts with getting credit," Terrell said. "Who originated this and that's always been a really big challenge online. So, that's why we looked at technologies like blockchain. We can create an immutable record, regardless if you're on the platform or not, of who created what."

According to TechCrunch, Spill already had a $2.75 million pre-seed donated by MaC Venture Capital and Kapor Center "with additional funds from Sunset Ventures." The investment helped build a live newsfeed for users to ongoingly share updates or interests, otherwise known as "Spills."

With Spill still in its early stages, Terrell is looking to onboard diverse folks who can culture drive the platform to new heights, hoping the platform transforms into the first Black-owned social platform.

The platform right now is only available through an invitation on Apple's App Store.


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