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David Byttow says anonymous sharing app Secret takes firm stance on cyber bullying

March 24
8:09 AM 2014

Secret Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer David Byttow said he does not see a lot of cyberbullying on his anonymous sharing app, TechCrunch reported.

Talks about the issues concerning anonymity became more intent after Secret secured $8.4 million in a funding round participated in by Initialized Capital of Garry Tan, Google Ventures and other backers. Since there are no names attached to the messages, people can say what they want to say to people, including insulting them. Tech founders and investors were among those targeted in defamatory posts when the app was launched. Marc Andreessen had asked through a tweet about the ethics behind building or financing systems that were "designed to encourage negative behavior, tearing people down, making fellow souls sad," the report said.

In his March 8 SXSW talk with Josh Constine, Byttow does admit that there is a dark side to anonymity that this seven-week old startup is thinking of establishing a 17 and above limit as well as putting safeguards in place to protect users from bullying. Initially in the talk, Byttow revealed that Secret would let its users establish norms and take care of the moderation. By the end of the discussion, however, he revealed that Secret is against abuse and will take out abusive content if needed, the report said.

One of the steps that Secret has established is a dialog box that comes out when users post a message which has a proper name. It explains that community guidelines don't allow posts that defame others and that these mean messages could be flagged or taken out, the report said.

Compared to other apps like Whisper or PostSecret, Byttow said his company is naturally safeguarded from cyberbullying because it's not a public feed that allows anyone to just reply. With Secret, the posts come from the user's own community or the community that he or she has already joined in. Byttow highlights that Secret users often ask gets posts asking for help and often, the community goes to their support, the report said.

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