The brains behind Modera are Nodir Mirsaid, Sanjar Babadjanov and Marat Ibragimov. The men began Modera.co in Uzbekistanthen moved to San Francisco to develop their business.
Modera allows users to post their own ‘fashion and lifestyle’ photographs to their profiles that can then be rated by their friends. This rating system affects the newsfeeds of their friends, as the most popular photos remain on the feed for longer and can win prizes from Modera’s sponsors.
The site, launched in March and is still in the Beta phase, is growing at a rate of 400 users per day, according to the Sacramento Press.
While Modera is in English and is being launched from theUS, the creators’ home country is no stranger to home-grown social networks.
One Uzbek social network called Muloqot.uz is available exclusively for those with an Uzbek mobile number. The site was launched in September 2012 with the help of the state owned UzTelecom.
Muloqot’s launch previously sparked speculation the site was created to ‘lure’ Uzbekistan’s 10.8 million netizens away from other social networking sites to a site that is more easily controlled by the Uzbek government.
Last summer, Uzbek netizens were also introduced to YouFace.uz, an almost identical, Uzbek version of Facebook.
Despite this abundance of local social networks, social media use in Uzbekistancontinues to be stifled by frequent blocks in access. A 2012 Freedom House report ranks Uzbekistan as “unfree”. Within the last year, Uztelecom has blocked Uzbek Internet users from accessing proxy servers.