Seen.life is advertised as a “free speech” Facebook alternative. The social network gained popularity after an article detailing a supposed “Facebook privacy bombshell” went viral in January, 2015, the same time Seen.life was being launched. The article, written by Lisa Haven, a BeforeItsNews contributor, turned out to be a hoax intended to scare Facebook users into joining Seen.life, which she frequently promoted in her articles.
It appears to be a subsidiary of alternative news outlet BeforeItsNews, run by Temporal Media, Ltd. and Relax Life Media, Inc., depending on where you go to look up its ownership. It’s worth noting that BeforeItsNews does not disclose their shared ownership in their advertisements for Seen.Life. However, an investigation conducted by The Columbian Post has revealed that the domains BeforeItsNews.com and Seen.life are both registered to the exact same address, with Vinh Vo listed as the administrative contact under an email address on the domain Unseen.is.
Upon further investigation, we were able to uncover an S.E.C. filing from 2015 registered to the same address. The form lists three individuals as officers/employees: Christopher Kitze, Vuk Bulajic and John Boyd. Listed in the document is the exchange of equity in an unlisted enterprise for the sum of $1,120,000. This sum is purported to be collected from thirteen investors, for “general working capital purposes including the payment of payroll. The officers listed in item 3 will be among the employees who may receive a portion of regularly scheduled salary from such proceeds.”
Who exactly is Christopher Kitze? An enigma wrapped in a mystery. A google search showed a LinkedIn profile, listing him as the Chairman of Alphabit Digital Currency Fund, a company which has no discernible website. Using the Wayback Machine, I was able to see that in the past his profile had listed him as the CEO of Safe Cash Payment Technologies, Inc., a startup that hoped to encourage merchants and banks to make use of digital tokens based on Bitcoin’s Blockchain technology to send money instantly. A CrunchBase profile confirmed his position at Safe Cash, and also listed him as being the CEO of Unseen, ehf, a “provider of secure and private communications,” and BeforeItsNews.
Unseen, ehf turns out to be the organization running Unseen.is, a secure messaging app based out of Iceland. The profile also includes a link outlining a round of seed funding for Safe Cash in 2015, amounting to $1,120,000. Here we see some familiar names, Vuk Bulajic and Vinh Vo listed as investors, as well as a man named Naveen Jain. Safe Cash is listed as being owned and operated from San Francisco, Ca, but a visit to the firm’s website shows it is owned and operated by the Safe.Cash Foundation in Lichtenstein.
Bloomberg and Crunchable list no financial transactions for the company, odd for a tech startup that raised over $1M in funding. Make a mental note that the $1.12M made its way into a shady offshore shell corporation with no financial records at the same time that Seen.life made its digital debut via a viral hoax.
Then I came across a Wikipedia article about the public records database service Intelius, which lists Naveen Jain as its founder. The article detailed a plethora of class action lawsuits against the company, on the grounds of breaching data protection laws and unlawfully enrolling people in marketing services without their permission. More importantly, it showed me that Chris Kitze is a member of Intelius’ Board of Directors.
I’m not exactly sure what Mr. Kitze is involved in, but I’d hesitate to join a social network owned by him. At best your personal information would be vulnerable, at worst, well, I’ll simply offer that his history doesn’t indicate he’s the sort of person you’d want to bet your privacy on.