Proof that Secret is run by mean girls: 'Dens' for trash-talking people at your school or office

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In the age of “there’s an app for that” — even laundry, which grabbed $10.5 million this morning — naturally even cyberbullying needed some disruption.

Anonymous sharing app Secret is rapidly coming out as the leading pioneer of such disruption, especially with its new feature “Secret Dens,” which is essentially a closed room for anonymous smack-talking for colleagues and classmates.

Really, let’s not pretend that it won’t happen.

From its blog post announcing the new feature:

The magic of Secret was created by applying anonymity to your network. This combination creates genuine conversations that you wouldn’t have anywhere else online, and the result has inspired us to let you bring this experience to more of your networks, beyond only people in your contacts.

That’s why we’re creating a new way to share on Secret. Secret Dens brings a new layer to your Secret stream, giving you a private, company-specific Den to share anything you’re thinking — kept within the walls of your workplace.

I mean, sure, colleagues and classmates will likely share a lot of “inside jokes, updates, and secrets” among themselves, as the Secret team apparently did over the past month. I can definitely imagine doing that here at VentureBeat.

But is definitely going to get ugly, real quick — even adults in the workplace can quickly degenerate into acting like evil teenagers, bullying, smack-talking, lying, and more.

All it would take is for one person to have an unpleasant moment being admonished by a manager, or some salary or promotion envy, and boom — ugly message on Secret is posted!

And the case of college kids getting vicious is a given — put too many divas in one digital room together and cyber-hair pulling and shade-throwing will ensue. Or just picture those Evan Spiegel frat emails in the form of Secrets (though perhaps those would have been less harmful had they been Secret posts).

And let’s remind ourselves of Yik Yak, the anonymous app that recently rocked a Connecticut public high school with violent gossip storms, causing girls to burst out of classrooms in tears –and sexual harassment claims showing up among the gossip.

I hate to be the Thomas Hobbes here, but the consequences of saying these things without anonymity are the social contract that often keeps us from descending into social anarchy.

And if that’s not enough, do revisit Secret’s privacy policy:

We may share information about you as follows or as otherwise described in this privacy policy:

  • In response to a request for information if we believe disclosure is in accordance with any applicable law, regulation or legal process, or as otherwise required by any applicable law, rule or regulation;

  • If the content of a Post can reasonably be considered illegal or unlawful (or it seems like the Post is being used to engage in, encourage or promote such activities), in which case we may report your identity to proper authorities in order to protect the rights, property and safety of Secret, our users and/or others; and

  • With your consent or at your direction, including if we notify you through our Service that the information you provide will be shared in a particular manner and you provide such information

So remember not to post about insider trading or who your favorite new drug dealer is — you can get in trouble for that.

But with that said, there might be a place for this new feature — whistleblowing, for example. And it could very well help some people.

Now if only our inner teenagers could refrain themselves from taking over.


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