Creator of Muslim social network looking for 1,5bn and promises to shoot a film about Shalyapin
Author of Suhba’s project Tokhir Tukhtatov about competition with Facebook, cryptocurrency market and censorship in social networks
Several years ago Russian Muslim social activist Abdul-Vakhed Niyazov planned to create a 'halal Facebook' – SalamWorld. However, the project was not fulfilled in the end as well as several other Muslim platforms. This state of affairs did not impede other developers from going further and creating Suhba project that includes not only a 'Muslim social network' but also the analogous browser, messenger and mail. Realnoe Vremya reached out to Suhba's founder Tokhir Tukhtarov who told why the market that was already full of things needs the services created by them, why they did not start working full steam and how much money needed to be invested in this project. He also announced a film about great citizen of Kazan Fyodor Shalyapin last Sunday.
About ban on swearing, 'unsuitable' pictures and strict filtration
Tokhir, could you tell how your project started and what a goal it has?
Now the availability of information for kids on the Internet is topical around the world. For instance, death groups, forums about suicide, terrorist pages where people's brains are washed – similar information on the Net is available for all the users. We concerned about this matter and decided to create a project that would filter negative information in 2009.
Initially, the project was not successful enough because society was not concerned about this matter a lot. But in 2014, when I was in Crimea, I got documents with marketing research of IT products for Muslims (social network, mail and search services). I decided to change the format of our project to create a Muslim social network, Muslim search system and so on.
By sheer coincidence, the next day after making this decision, when I was at the mosque, Russia 24 TV channel was making a piece and I managed to talk about my project on air. The global project for Muslims based on filtered information for kids and adults interested almost everyone. Only the social network and mail had been created by that moment. As time went by, we decided we needed to grow and complemented with a search system, two messengers and browser. Later, by numerous requests of representatives of other religions, we restructured and made our project interreligious.
What services are available now?
Now almost all the services have either demo or beta versions. Now we can't launch full versions of the products because we have not built our data centre yet, which is the main part of the project. As we have limited features, there are certain difficulties with filtration because it takes big volumes of server capacities.
Let's talk about the products: one 'Muslim network' has already burnt, are not you afraid of having the same fate? Why do users should refuse already habitual Vk.com, Facebook and Odnoklassniki?
The previous projects burnt because they did not find normal programmers for themselves who would make the very product, there were not even beta versions. While we have programmes who used to write products on Facebook, Google, Yandex, Telegram. We had created the very product before we started to speak about ourselves.
What can I do if I register in our social network now?
Almost same like on Facebook or Vk.com – there won't be a big difference because filtration doesn't work now. Now you can't swear. In the future, everything that refers to negative, undesirable information that could harm you or your kid will be banned.
How are you going to filter information?
All the filters that work now function with scripts or moderators who check the content are used in this process. We do it with the help of artificial intelligence: it can compare several facts and ban a text, picture or video. Following up to 300 parameters, it decides whether the content can be shown or not.
''Google, Facebook or Yandex started to create things a long time ago, and they don't stop making them – they always fix and improve something. It will be so in our case.'' Photo: tricountytech.edu
Can the system have errors? Can any inoffensive photo be considered as something unsuitable?
There may be errors, of course. I can't say everything works 100%. However, we need to understand that this technology is new and nobody has ever created artificial intelligence for filtration before us – now it mainly works to help a company to make money. If there are any errors, we will fix, improve. Google, Facebook or Yandex started to create things a long time ago, and they don't stop making them – they always fix and improve something. It will be so in our case.
About investments and project's good appetite
Tokhir, could you tell in detail about the stage you are at now?
I will repeat again that now the project works in beta version – one can register and see everything. The main launch directly depends on the construction of data centre (we plan to
Are investments successfully collected by selling invest packages?
Investments are collected. But they won't be enough to launch the project, so to speak. It is just the beginning of money collection to test the model of sales and investments.
At the current stage, if we compare Suhba with a world analogue, the project has colossal success. Other companies needed much more time to get the results we have already achieved: nowadays the project is estimated at almost 1,5 trillion rubles. I want to note that it is an international value. We already started the preliminary sale of options at the London exchange. In addition, the company was 1,5 year when it entered the London exchange. Nobody has ever reached such success.
It is said on Subha's official page that the project needs to collect 1,500,000,000 rubles. What will this money be spent on? How much have you already collected if it is not a secret?
There is such a concept as stages of data centre's launch: the centre has a system of blocks like in both construction and equipment. And one section of our data centre is 1,5bn rubles. Even while launching one section, at least we can shift out products form demo to beta version and even fully launch some services (for instance, the browser). I won't say how much we have collected – it is classified information with our investors, founders and shareholders.
''We already started the preliminary sale of options at the London exchange. In addition, the company was 1,5 year when it entered the London exchange. Nobody has ever reached such success.'' Photo: egorborisov.ru
About cryptocurrency, Muslim IT projects and future plans
You also planned to deal with cryptocurrency in the project. Are not you afraid of entering this sphere?
We are not going to make it outside the project from the beginning – it will be internal. In other words, we are talking about payment inside the project and control of payment process. What is the reason for the popularity of the creator of any other cryptocurrency? The cryptocurrency itself. And we will be popular because 6bn people will use it. Others should be afraid of entering this bloodbath, not we.
Tokhir, could you put examples of successful Muslim IT projects?
No. Halal Guide is the only successful project I know. Ayrat Kasimov is a determined and long-sighted person. He doesn't go on foot but moves with gigantic steps. His right choice is based on correct programmers and development of a correct product. I will note he is not our opponent – he is a friend and help who moves in the direction we move in. There are not any successful analogues besides Halal Guide and Suhba at this stage.
In conclusion, I would like to ask about your plans for the future. What goals do you have now?
During 2017-2018, we will work to launch the products in full version. In addition, we are going to capitalise the project by 30% in the next 2 years: we will sell 30% of the company in shares around the world, build all the stages of our data centre by late 2018 and simultaneously start the construction of operating data centres in different parts of the globe. We plant to reach the initial full capacity during this time – it is about 300 million people.