One of the very famous Anonymous messaging app, Secret is shutting down. The announcement came from Secret’s Co-founder David Byttow through a Medium post where he confirmed that the investors will be getting their money back.
With a heavy heart, I've decided to shut down Secret, wind-down the company, and return the remaining money. https://t.co/HZUCMe3xFu
— David Byttow 👊 (@davidbyttow) April 29, 2015
Secret, the Anonymous messaging app used to enable the users to share their personal secrets and confidential matters with others by eliminating the fear of getting traced. The app rose to heights very quickly and attracted 26 investors to invest $35 million in the app, making it worth $100 million now.
One of the main reasons behind the popularity of the app was its ability of syncing with the address book contacts of the user. What it meant was when the user saw an update, they knew it was from someone in their contact list and that added more relevance.
However, according to the David Byttow, the app didn’t turn out as per their expectation. From past one year, a number of users were reporting that the app had led to a significant increase in cyber-bullying, thus he called the idea a double-edged sword which needs to be handled with intense care. Here’s what he quoted:
I believe in honest, open communication and creative expression, and anonymity is a great device to achieve it. But it’s also the ultimate double-edged sword, which must be wielded with great respect and care. I look forward to seeing what others in this space do over time.
The demise of the app has left its 15 million customers in dismay. Its users shall now have to turn to Yik Yak/Whisper, the prime competitors of Secret.
Last summer rumors were prevailing that David Byttow and Chrys Bader, the founders of Secret, had sold their stake for a sum of $6 million and were planning to take more money off the table. This had left the confidence of the employees shattered.
Secret was also facing a lawsuit in which a Brazilian court granted a preliminary injunction to a public prosecutor that banned Microsoft, Apple and Google from listing the app on their stores.
To stop the cyber bullying Secret had taken a few steps, such as the addition of privacy tools which prevented people from posting photos that were taken before the app was installed, a better screening process etc. However, these measures didn’t prove to be of much worth and the issue of cyber bullying forced the owners to take down the app.
Talking about the investment, Byttow said that the company would be returning the money back to their investors.
Cyber bullying has always been a serious issue and the elimination of Secret has made the situation worst. Anonymity and cyber bullying have always gone hand to hand. The power of being anonymous has always freed us, the humans from our moral duties and gives us the right to bully anyone. But the hatred that is being circulated on the Internet needs to be duly taken care of.
One connecting the dots, one may find that Facebook was in the same position sometimes back when the demand for Dislike button was growing like anything. Since Facebook is one of the most popular social networks with a monthly active user base of 1.44 billion, its decision was surely going to affect other social networks as well. But Facebook decided to go against it as Mark Zuckerberg believed that the Dislike button will lead to spreading hatred messages on Facebook, making the social network a place full of negativity.
What are your reactions on the shut down of the Secret app? Is there any future for Anonymous messaging apps? Do let us know in the comments section below.