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Are Anonymous Social Media Platforms Good?

The fear of the possible consequences of tracing our digital footprints on the internet, after years of social networks uploading personal data about our everyday lives, has pushed thousands of users to switch to anonymous social networks. Two of these apps, Whisper and Secret, enable users to maintain their social connections while being completely anonymous and without providing any actual data.

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The problem with confidentiality on networks such as Twitter and Facebook is that they are no longer just places to share personal thoughts. Instead, they are now a way for people all over the world to talk to each other. With the addition of professional and commercial profiles, social networks have become a strong social media marketing tool for building personal brands and keeping customers loyal. This means that we need to be careful about what we share on the internet, since keeping track of our digital footprints can occasionally be a pain.

Many users’ biggest problem is not knowing what they can or can’t say or share when they’re using their personal profile, their professional profile, or both at the same time. These anonymous platforms or others like Snapchat let you say or share anything you want without worrying about how it might affect your online reputation.

What Are Anonymous Social Media Platforms?

Anonymous social networking also known as “anon” applications or websites undertake no, or extremely few, identity checks to guarantee users are who they say they are. Without disclosing their identities, users communicate with one another, exchange ideas, and ask questions.

Most anonymous apps or sites don’t require a verified email address or phone number to sign up, and users can sign up for as many usernames as they want, no matter whether the app monitors or enforces rules. Apps and social networking sites are readily available on app stores and via Google searches. On the “dark web,” there are more anonymous applications, which need more in-depth access expertise.

These new platforms function almost just like the traditional networks we are all acquainted with, with the exception that anonymous networks hide each user’s true digital identity to enable them to communicate views, thoughts, and ideas. A few lines of text is all it takes to communicate any concept, thought, or secret you wish to reveal while maintaining your anonymity.

Examples of Anonymous Social Media Platforms

Every day, new applications are published in the app stores. The following are examples of some of the most often used anonymous apps:

  • Reddit
  • Omegle
  • Ask.fm
  • Secret
  • Whisper
  • SayAt.Me App
  • MeWe
  • AntiLand

Are Anonymous Social Media Platforms Good or Bad?

Photo by Brett Jordan

Anonymous social media platforms emerging seems like a natural evolution of the internet, however, it’s a mixed bag. Here are the advantages of anon social media platforms:

Pros

Safeguards User Data

Many individuals are looking to abandon social media platforms in order to avoid security risks in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica crisis in 2018 and the new understanding of how little privacy Facebook users have.

Promotes Meaningful Conversation

In a similar vein, proponents think that because opinions can be made without worrying about consequences, genuine dialogue can bring critical topics to the fore. Whistleblowers may raise legitimate concerns in these circumstances that could otherwise go unnoticed.

Breaking News Source

As one of its purposes, Whisper encourages its users to submit news as it occurs and promotes popular media; some journalists have begun utilising Whisper to report on the tech industry. Whisper introduced a new service in 2017 that automatically creates articles from posts made by users. It’s surprising that it’s so well-liked that even Tronc news journalists use it.

Generates Objective Advice

A lot of individuals discuss important life events, like an impending wedding, on Facebook with their loved ones. But some of the same individuals will go to anonymous websites to seek life guidance if they don’t feel comfortable disclosing sensitive information to a friend.

Cons

Anonymous commenting is opposed by many who believe that these applications encourage defamation, cyberbullying, and other undesirable activities. The argument put up by critics is that when social restrictions are lifted, rude statements and conduct spike. Here are the disadvantages of anonymous social media platforms:

The Risk of Ruining Lives

One of the most vocal skeptics of anonymous social networking sites is Marc Andreessen, a co-founder of Netscape. He voiced his disapproval, stating that individuals needed to determine if the platforms are “ethical and genuine.”  He expressed that a lot of these studies are intended to foster bad conduct, pulling people down, and making fellow individuals miserable in his Twitter thread.

Defamatory and offensive Posts

The simplicity for a user to post defamatory comments about a person on anonymous social media is one of the most frequent concerns of the platform. As a result, a victim often has the burden of proving the allegations to be untrue. Even while some individuals have been able to remove the abuser’s anonymity in order to pursue legal lawsuits, it is also that much more difficult to stop them if they are acting in secret.

How These Platforms are Monetized

A more curious thing to note when it comes to anonymous social media posts is: how do they stay afloat? Compared to traditional platforms, user’s data is very limited and the developers have to be crafty in ways they monetize the platform, sometimes needing help from social media agencies. Advertisement seems the most obvious way to monetize an anonymous app. But what alternatives do they have in this case?

  • Keyword-search based advertising: To make it easier for users to discover certain items in the feed, app developers add a search option to the app. Then, they display advertising to users based on their search history. It’s a different approach compared to regular social media marketing, but it still works effectively.
  • Paid gifts: There are other ways to express thoughts on social media networks than likes and replies. With the help of a design team, anon apps also create a few online presents that they can later sell for a modest price.

Conclusion

These networks are appealing from an aesthetic standpoint because of the parallels they have with other networks, such as the well-known Pinterest. The level of freedom made possible by these networks’ anonymity creates a vast and compelling collection of “whispers” or “secrets” that immortalise the inventive brilliance of their writers, as well as paving way for genuine thoughts on opinions on some topics of the world to surface. 

In other words, the expansion of this kind of network is just a reflection of the demands from a sizable user base that supports significant changes to privacy rights in the internet and digital technology world.

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