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09 Oct

Perhaps “anonymous social” would encourage the same sort of human connection that Facebook once offered, without the drawback of disclosing your true identity along the way?

Actually, what anonymous social networking for the most part offered was yet another reminder that when people no longer have to stand behind their words, they can say some pretty terrible things.

Twitter, though not entirely anonymous as many users identify themselves by name, is navigating this same challenge today with respect to handling bullying and threats.

Investors and the media alike debated about the ethics of these sorts of apps, as they often allow for cyberbullying and shaming of public figures – and in some cases, even seemed to encourage that activity.

Secret’s pivot is representative of the app’s inability to maintain growth amid an overall decline in anonymous social networking applications, with the exceptions of Yik Yak, Whisper and, more recently, newcomer After School.

For a bit of background before diving in: One of the bigger trends among consumer applications in 2014 was the rise of “anonymous social networking” – or apps that allowed users to post publicly to networks without using their real names.

These questions come to mind today as one of the leading companies in the “anonymous social” category, Secret, revamped its application, borrowing ideas from popular apps like Yik Yak and Snapchat and others in order to introduce new features like location-based posts and disappearing private messages.

Which of the anonymous social networking apps around today are still thriving, and which are practically dead?