THE NEW YORKER - Raya is the rare social network that ensures that all of its users are who they say they are. Since it launched in Los Angeles, in 2015, it has gained a reputation as the "celebrity dating app" and "Illuminati Tinder." The app is private; aspiring users must undergo an application process that can stretch on for months. Once accepted, members must adhere to a rigid code of silence - no exposing other people's profiles and no screenshotting within the app. Even tweeting too much about Raya, or publicly mentioning another member, can be grounds for a ban. Raya was launched by Daniel Gendelman out of his apartment in West Hollywood. Most social-media platforms rely on selling ads. Raya, instead, charged a subscription fee of $7.99 per month (now $9.99). The app's popularity was driven by FOMO. In 2020, Raya added a series of new features including its Directory, a kind of bespoke Rolodex that allows members to search one another by city, industry, or company. You can find a Raya-approved architect or graphic designer to plan a renovation or make a portfolio. According to the company, the Directory has seen more than a million searches to date.