One of the fastest rising Atlanta startups, Yik Yak, took the world by storm and raised $73.5 million dollars to date. The anonymous social media app revolves around campus life. Today, the company has taken a proactive approach to irresponsible anonymity like sexual harrasment and bullying but early on it was rampant in their community.
Back in January of 2014 Yik Yak was accused of being a conduit for anonymous cyber bullying in school. Despite those early problems Yik Yak has done amazing things almost following in the footsteps of Snapchat, which also early on was accused of similar problems.
Atlanta startup Privet, who’s located just a few floors up from YikYaks old office space at the Atlanta Tech Depot, feels that with anonymity and responsibility, comes more real and unique conversation.
The hyper engaged Privet community has used anonymity to tackle tough issues like preventing domestic violence, addiction and mental health awareness. Some users have been starving for a safe venue where they can seek help in other people without having to disclose their names. The conversation on the Privet app is engaging, thought provoking and may not otherwise happen without responsible anonymity.
“My husband has finally accepted our families request for him to go to rehab!!!! Today has been so emotional and I am dreained but I am so hopeful for my husband. This is his last chance to get it together. Prayers appreciated”.
That message was posted on Tuesday evening. Imagine the reaction this person would have received on Facebook. She probably wouldn’t be able to post this kind of message anywhere else without fear of judgement. The responses to her post were all supportive. This is the kind of post that Privet was created for.
“We didn’t get to this place of anonymity without a great deal of soul searching,” explains Chris Morocco, CEO and co-founder of Privet said in a press release. “And brands like Yik Yak, Whisper, Rumr and After School have taught us a great deal about social anonymity and the market desire for this feature. However, our mission, vision and technology are very different. The Privet culture is based on the belief that when responsible people are real, open and honest they can help each other beyond what anyone can imagine.”
How do they keep it safe?
Many startups have proven that creating an anonymous app isn’t a tremendously hard task. Get the right developers together and you could create one in a short amount of time. Privet has poured their technology resources into creating software that watches anonymously for patterns and uses conversational analysis to conduct to conduct preliminary and post-ratings of its content in order to let its users know what is acceptable and what isn’t. In addition to sophisticated automation, it is a self-policing community so the users play a critical role in preserving the culture of the app.
“We use similar ratings to the movie industry because people already understand that metaphor. All posts go in as G-rated until an action on the system flags it as a possible issue. That action will most likely flag it as an R or X-rated post,” explains Dale McIntyre, CTO and co-founder of Privet. “R-rated is one where there is a warning in the feed over the post to let our community know that it wasn’t bad enough to be removed, but is definitely walking the line or could be in poor taste. The X-rated posts are removed completely.”
It’s not all so serious though.
Privet users do have a chance to post about things you would see on non-anonymous social networks. The Privet app is divided into channels which include; parenting, funny, health, relationships, man cave, current, stylin and life. Obviously some of the channels are more free spirited than others, while some channels serve dual purposes.
The parenting channel has posts ranging from cute things the kids did today, to how to handle rough behavior issues, again something some parents wouldn’t feel comfortable with posting elsewhere. The same is true for the health and relationship channels as well.
Cruising through the Privet channels was actually a bit refreshing. Check it out here.