Anonymous Apps Like Whisper and Secret Have a Dark Side

Social Media sites, such as, Ask.fm, Secret, Whisper and Yik Yak are letting people talk anonymously to each other which is leading to cyberbullying, abusive content, and teen suicide. This is causing brands to be more cautious on where they are advertising.

These sites are mainly used to share private information without their identity being known. People can discuss their issues without the receiving end knowing who they are. Where this might be helpful to the user, it can also be harmful because it leads the responders to tease and bully. There have been seven teen suicides that are linked to bullying on Ask.fm.

These sites have been scrutinized for the way they are dealing with cyber bullying. Secret’s cofounder and CEO has been labeled as having an “uncaring attitude toward cyberbullying.” After this, Secret implemented a system to detect any cyber-bullying. Whisper is also trying to come up with solutions for these problems. They launched Your Voice which is a non-profit platform which gives users the ability to discuss depression and mental health.

Knowing that there is a lot of cyberbullying with an outcome of teen suicide, do you feel that it is too risky for brands to advertise on these social media platforms?

http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/anonymous-apps-whisper-and-secret-have-dark-side-160107

– Natalie Ishkanian

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2 thoughts on “Anonymous Apps Like Whisper and Secret Have a Dark Side

  1. Brands should use selectivity in discerning where they advertise and not just saturate social media spaces because it’s financially lucrative. Cyber bullying on apps, due to the anonymity (and other social media sites where identity doesn’t need to be disclosed) need to be closely monitored and addressed with anti-bullying tactics and they have a long way to go. The anonymity perpetuates bullying and other problems such as the article depicted, a platform for terrorist groups (ISIS) to recruit on Ask.fm. Lee Tien, senior staff attorney at the nonprofit digital rights organization, Electronic Frontier Foundation, stated in the article that working through bullying goes hand in hand with free speech and free speech comes at a cost. True, free speech does come at a cost but abuse such as bullying; harassment, and taunting are subject to anti-bullying laws.

    It’s incumbent on Advertisers and Investors to take a position that bullying is unacceptable and by withdrawing from those outlets they are not only making a statement, but also setting precedence. Relative to how the Brands reacted to the recent domestic violence incidents of Rice and Peterson, Nike pulled Peterson gear off the shelves, Anheuser-Busch, PepsiCo, McDonalds, Campbell’s Soup, thus far have all vocalized utter disappointment over the handling of the NFL’s reaction to these cases. It is in Advertisers’ best interest to retract from markets concerning unacceptable conduct.

  2. It’s really interesting to see how social media is having a lot of negative impact on some people, when I am sure social media was initially created to facilitate communications between people and share common interest. Sites like these who don’t seem to do anything to stop this cyber bullying and show a nonchalant reaction to it, should be banned or taken out of the internet. Although that is impossible to do, I think creating sites that will stop the cyber bullying (and I am sure there must be some, but are poorly advertised) would be a good start to help take down these sites or at least give the owners a wake up call about better monitoring their sites and the content distributed on them. Or maybe, companies should stop advertising on these sites??? It is never a black and white answer, since everything is driven by money and revenue today…

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