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Secret is an iOS and Android app that allows people to share messages anonymously within their circle of friends, friends of friends, and publicly. It differs from other anonymous sharing apps such as PostSecret and Whisper in that it is intended for sharing primarily with friends, potentially making it more interesting and addictive for people reading the updates.[1] It was founded by David Byttow, the former technical lead for Square Wallet, and Chrys Bader-Wechseler, a former Google product manager at Google+, Photovine and YouTube.[2]

History[edit]

In December 2013, TechCrunch reported the existence of Secret (then in stealth, so its purpose was unclear), and also that it was raising $1.2 million, based on a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.[2][3]

The app was released privately within Silicon Valley over the next two months. It started receiving press coverage in early February 2014, where it was revealed that the company had raised $1.4 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Google Ventures, Alexis Ohanian and Garry Tan through their Initialized Capital vehicle, Index Ventures, Matrix Partners, SV Angel, and Fuel Capital.[1] A number of technology news websites billed Secret as the latest craze in Silicon Valley.[4][5][6][7]

False rumors about an impending acquisition of Evernote were circulated via Secret in early February 2014.[4][8] Business Insider reported rumors (circulated on Secret) that Secret was about to acquire Whisper, another anonymous sharing app.[9]

On February 10, Mashable reported that clothing retailer Gap was the first brand to join Secret.[10] On February 13, 2014, Secret launched a Bug Bounty program for hackers who found vulnerabilities in its app.[11] On February 14, Forbes reported that Secret would add more privacy controls.[12] This happened on February 21: Secret added subscribe/unsubscribe options, post flagging, and unlinking options.[13] In May 2014, Secret launched on Android and opened up internationally. [14]

Reception[edit]

Technology commentators likened Secret to the shuttered app PostSecret and the app Whisper, all part of a growing trend towards anonymous and quasi-anonymous sharing, a pushback against Facebook's successful push to encourage real name use throughout the Internet.[1][15]

An article in The Guardian argued that although Secret was fast becoming a craze, we should be more cautious about what we share and whom we trust online.[6]

Detailed reviews of Secret were published in Technology Review[16] and TechCrunch.[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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