Secret Social Network To Hit UK Shores

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Privacy affectionados celebrate after ‘Secret’, the anonymous social network, prepares for UK launch

The anonymous social network ‘Secret’ is to launch in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, following its success in the United States.

The unique selling point for this social network is that it allows members to share gossip without revealing their names or profiles.

Social Anonymity

Secret is a mobile app (Android and iOS only) that was launched in early 2014 in the US. The app itself makes use of a user’s address book to share information with a subset of their friends, and friends of friends. Thus updates, images, personal information and gossip tends to be only shared with friends rather than complete strangers.

In the US, it became popular with Silicon Valley staffers, who used it to anonymously share information about developments within their own tech firms.

Earlier this month for example, Nike was forced to deny rumours that had surfaced on Secret that it was disbanding the team responsible for the fitness tracking FuelBand bracelet. However weeks later the FuelBand engineers were made redundant.

vic_gundotra_01-624x351Another example saw Secret reveal that Vic Gundotra, the former head of Google+, was looking for other jobs, three days before his resignation was confirmed by the search engine giant.

Streaming Updates

“We launched in the US three months ago, on 30 January, and we’ve been testing the waters, making sure that Secret is nice and polished,” Secret co-founder, Chrys Bader-Wechseler, told the Guardian newspaper. “We decided that the next logical step was to open the doors to the UK, and we’re doing that on Monday.”

Bader-Wechseler and co-founder David Byttow came across each other when they were both working on Google+. Byttow reportedly left the firm first, and Bader-Wechseler followed a year later.

The two joined forces to develop the Secret messaging app , which reportedly had its origins in an anonymous feedback tool that Byttow had previously developed – ironically dubbed “whisperly”.

This is doubly ironic considering that Secret’s biggest competitor is another information sharing app called Whisper.

“We started designing it, and built an iPhone app for this one-on-one messaging project. People enjoyed it, but didn’t really engage with it,” Bader-Wechseler is quoted as saying. “Once we made it a broadcast app, rather than just messaging, made it a stream, and made it so that you could connect with all your contacts, it took off.”

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