DeVaris Brown and Alphonzo “Phonz” Terrell used to work for Twitter. Now, they work for themselves.


Insider reports Terrell — Twitter’s former global head of social and editorial — and Brown — a former product manager lead at the company– decided to combine their skills and create Spill, a social media app that considers the nuances of Black culture and rewards users.

As for why they created Spill — the founders believed it was time for a new standard that no longer overlooks the communities that are at the forefront of trends on platforms like Twitter and TikTok.

“I think this is really a platform issue,” Terrell told TechCrunch. “Even before I left Twitter, over the last several months, I was just talking to Black female creators, talking to Black queer creators and I’m like, ‘How do you make your money? Is any platform supporting you? Does the idea of Spill interest you?’”

Spill opened its waitlist in December 2022 and since then, it has generated 60,000 registrations, according to TechCrunch.

The anticipation may be able to be credited to the promise of a feed where users can “create, comment, amplify or share a random thought, called a ‘Spill,'” per the company’s website.

In addition, users can join in-app chat events with friends virtually or in person through a feature called “tea parties.”

Viral Posts Will Be Rewarded

What’s more, when posts go viral, users will automatically receive financial compensation. This will be accomplished by leaning on blockchain technology to track the spread of posts and pay the user. However, payment will be in the form of U.S. dollars as Terrell makes it clear that Spill is not a web3 company.

“It’s not a web3 thing,” Terrell said, according to TechCrunch. “But the use of blockchain is for both crediting creators and setting up a model for us to compensate them automatically. If they have a spill that goes viral and we monetize it, it’s really effective.”

Spill’s other gleaming factor is its consideration of cultural context.

A study revealed African-American English (AAE) tweets “and tweets by self-identified African Americans are up to two times more likely” to be labeled as “offensive compared to others.”

This reveals the engraved bias being emboldened by social media algorithms.

Brown, Spill’s Chief Technology Officer, is looking critically at this prevailing issue and there is currently a diverse team of developers responsible for Spill’s artificial intelligence (AI).

“This will probably be the first, from the ground up, large language content moderation model using AI that’s actually built by people from the culture,” Brown said, according to TechCrunch.

He continued: “We’re going to be more intentional and be more accurate around things that will be deemed offensive, because, again, this is our lived experience or learned experience. It’ll be much more accurate to catch those kinds of things that will detract from the platform that would not lend to creating a safe space for our users and our creators.”

Spill Raises Funds

Looking ahead, Spill aims to secure partnerships with entertainment brands that can share exclusive news on the platform.

In addition, according to TechCrunch, the platform is looking to expand its team after receiving $2.75 million in a pre-seed round led by MaC Venture Capital and Kapor Center. Sunset Ventures also participated in the funding round.

“We are excited that Spill aims to address major challenges created by existing social media platforms and utilize technology to build more diverse, equitable, and inclusive online communities,” Allison Scott, CEO of the Kapor Center, told TechCrunch in an email.