These buggy apps discovered the web’s hidden rules

Four days later the election of Donald Trump, the former CEO of a failed anonymous social networking app tweeted: “The V2 Secret is coming. It’s too important for it not to exist. ” About a year and a half earlier, Secret was shut down, overwhelmed by the epidemic of cyberbullying and the competition from Yik Yak. But when America woke up to the fact that polls and data were unable to capture the country’s political tendencies, the power of unwritten right was ever more apparent. Democrats are shocked to see their more rightist friends and family with new skeptical eyes, wondering if they keep quiet on mainstream social media for fear of attack. are not. Meanwhile on Reddit, one a tough community of Trump supporters has risen to around 270,000 subscribers – now close to 380,000 – shares memes, discusses their enthusiasm for Trump and dislikes Clinton, and yes, points out some loosely coded stubborn people under anonymity. There, the legion of Trump supporters feels free to express their opinion. But a free voter who doesn’t know access / r / The_Donald may never see those views. That disconnection raises a question in the mind of former Secret CEO David Byttow: Will the world differ significantly from us if those on our social media don’t feel Like they have to moderate their thoughts?

The original Secret app, which launched in early 2014, allows users to post anonymously and view anonymous posts from their friends, in what Byttow envisioned as “anti-Facebook, where you actually have. being able to say the worst shows who you are the most authentic to you, as opposed to your best self. “

At its peak, Secret and anonymity apps similar to Yik Yak and Whisper were hailed as the future of social media – an antidote to Real name controversy on Facebook and Instagram’s highly polished, super manageable interface. Anonymous apps are back with rudimentary message boards that brought primitive Internet culture to life, but reinvented them for the social networking age. However, despite having $ 200 million in funding, anonymity remains a type of kryptonite for social apps. The reason is simple: An online social network serves one purpose: connecting people. Without a name attached, people’s words become meaningful – or meaningless.

When they first appeared, Unidentified social media apps have been a viral hit – even on my own college campus. For most of my time in college, the anonymous discussion was confined to the “anonymous confession panel”, a rudimentary forum moderated by a single student, to the best of the knowledge of anyone. ACB is not very popular and it carries some stigma; that is the type of site you will remove from your “top sites” to avoid being seen by neighbors in the library. Once, I used it to find a lost coat.

Then in the fall of 2014, Yik Yak took off – and ACB went quiet. Suddenly, it seems every student is on the app, filling it with short phrases, observations, party promos and sometimes malicious rumors. My friends and I happily text each other a screenshot when one of our Yaks appeared on the “hot” page and earned hundreds of support. It’s the perfect delay tool – ACB has become the mainstream, and has been revamped with its sleek design. Yik Yak, of course, had even more lofty ambitions, Visualize itself as the Twitter of the younger generation.

Meanwhile Secret exploded in its own right, becoming famous as a hub of Silicon Valley gossip and gossip – the kind of place one can hang out. Rumors spread about the Evernote acquisition, or Discuss which startups use marijuana as an interview intimidation tactic. Secret and Yik Yak grew rapidly, raising $ 35 million and $ 73.5 million in the first 7 months, respectively. They’re very addictive: Byttow says that to this day, people tell him they’ll be forced to delete and reinstall Secret, wanting to stop wasting hours on the app in their fight with FOMO. He hopes to build Secret as a real rival to Instagram and Facebook, and for a while, it seems his dream could come true: After scoring the first viral taste in place Since its birthplace is Silicon Valley, Secret continues to take the No. 1 download store spot in eight countries.

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