Actress Ivana De Maria Aims to Restore Empathy to Social Media with StoryPlace

January 4, 2019
Updated 1mo ago

By Chloe Aiello

Social media and empathy don't exactly go hand-in-hand these days, but actress and producer Ivana De Maria wants to change all that with her new social media platform, StoryPlace.

"Stories have a lot of power, but then you add the word 'true' to it. A true story has so much potential to teach, to impact," De Maria told Cheddar on Friday.

De Maria describes StoryPlace as an "egoless story-sharing platform," designed to encourage empathy by giving a voice to ordinary people with stories to tell. Launched in mid-December, the app enables people to share true stories in various subjects, geotagged to where the stories happened.

"StoryPlace truly aims to connect people by showing people everyone has a story to tell, that every story has a lesson to teach, and that it's important to share truth out there," De Maria said.

De Maria knows a little something about storytelling. Alongside actress Salma Hayek, she helped produce "Monarca,"a Spanish-language show scooped up by Netflix ($NFLX) in 2018. She produced Los Angeles-based portions of the show, which centers around the corruption and scandal of a family-run Mexican tequila empire.

StoryPlace's launch came at the close of one of the roughest years to-date for social media and technology more broadly. Facebook's stock suffered as scandal after scandal ー from data privacy compromises to foreign political interference and allegations the platform was used to incite genocide ー rocked the company and eroded public trust. CEO Mark Zuckerberg went from reportedly mulling a presidential run in 2017, to struggling to repair his company's reputation and stock pricing and the end of 2018.

"Empathy is lacking almost entirely from social media. Social media is a very powerful tool that can promote connection ... but if not handled properly and responsibly, it can also be very dangerous," De Maria said.

For full interview click here.