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Online platform to share personal secrets
Secret was an Android and iOS app that allowed users to post content anonymously with their circle of friends or share it with a wider public. The app gained interest - and was at one point valued at 100 million- because it provided an outlet to those that didn’t want to be bound by the ‘real name’ rule of other social applications and face consequences for sharing their opinions and preferences. It also distinguished itself from other anonymous apps in that its interest factor for users could be higher since they knew that the person that shared a certain post on the app was someone that was in their contact list or circle of friends. The app became very addictive and some users said they routinely went through the motion of uninstalling the app only to install it again soon after that. The app was especially used in Silicon Valley.
The number of active users of the app rapidly declined after only 18 months from its launch.
After the initial thrill and interest of the users, a more negative and unpleasant use of the app emerged. Users, under the cloak of anonymity, engaged in all forms of cyberbullying and harassment. Secret moderators stated they weren’t ready to deal with the flood of negative posts and inappropriate behavior.
As cyberbullying stories increased, so did the media news that covered such stories. A court ruling in Brazil even banned Secret from the country deeming it unconstitutional since although free speech was allowed, free speech (and the harassments that said speech could contain) should not be anonymous.
The app lost traction and was eventually suspended.
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