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USATODAY: Anonymity working for Whisper app

by Jefferson Graham, USATODAY

Despite the huge outcry over anonymous comments on websites like Reddit and Yik Yak, Whisper has found a way to make anonymity work.

Instead of name calling, bullying, harassment, racist taunts and homophobic slander that has characterized some online comments without names attached, Whisper’s brand is a nice anonymity.

“What differentiates us from other platforms is that we only allow you to use anonymity as a shield and not as a sword,” says Michael Heyward, the 27-year-old co-founder and CEO of Whisper. Folks can’t use the app to “make fun of other people, to say bad things about others, only as a security blanket to protect yourself.”

And it’s paying off for the app, which launched in 2012.

Whisper, which now has 10 million monthly active users, generates 10 billion monthly page views, up from 3.5 billion in early 2014.

The company is pulling in a whopping 100,000 new Whisper posts every hour during peak times.

Brian Solis, an analyst with the Altimeter Group, says Whisper has found a “niche” the other anonymous apps didn’t. “I call it productive anonymity,” he says. “It puts the voice to topics people can’t attach their names to, but without the toxic nature of the others.”

Photo: Whisper CEO Michael Heyward (Credit: Sean Fujiwara)

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