It’s official: narcissistic, self-aggrandizing social media posts are out; anonymity is in. Put all your dollars in anonymity, stat!
As L.A.-based secret sharing app Whisper grows and bulks up with fresh capital to take on anonymous social sharing, so, too, is its closest competitor, Secret. Today, the mostly anonymous secret sharing startup announced that it has raised $25 million from Index Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Garry Tan and Alexis Ohanian, SV Angel, Fuel Capital, Ceyuan Ventures, and several others that will “remain a secret.”
The new round brings Secret’s total raised to $36.3 million altogether since its inception in late 2013. By comparison, Whisper, which was founded in 2012, has raised $60 million.
Along with the funding, Index Ventures’ Danny Rimer will be joining Secret’s board of directors.
“While the first six months were about us learning and perfecting the Secret experience, the rest of our first year will be focused on bringing Secret to more people, in more interesting ways,” the team stated in a blog post.
On the horizon for Secret: Collections and Facebook Login.
Collections will allow users to subscribe to specific categories—work, love, loss, food, etc.—and get the best secrets of the day in their Explore stream.
Facebook Login seems…problematic for an anonymous app, but Secret insists that everything is on the up-and-up. The idea follows on the heels of Secret Dens, which allows users to read and share secrets with unidentified coworkers or classmates. Facebook Login will populate your Explore feed with secrets shared by your Facebook friends.
The question of how much anonymity is enough anonymity has plagued a number of secret-sharing apps like Secret and its school campus-dedicated competitor YikYak, both of which have had their fair share of problems with cyber bullying.
“The problem is not anonymity,” wrote reddit co-founder and Secret investor Alexis Ohanian, in a blog post for Secret yesterday. “Anonymous printing made sure Thomas Paine (the original T. Paine!) didn’t die for his traitorous pamphleteering and instead the United State of America would be born. Pseudonymity allowed us to read the genius of the Brontë sisters at a time when only men were getting published. The solution is not to eliminate anonymity, which is a dangerous idea, because of the disenfranchised voices it would squelch.”
Ohanian added: “While a few bad actors get all the public attention, everyone else continues to be a silent vast majority of reasonable people using anonymity as it has been used for generations — to be a little more human.”
“Facebook and Twitter have grown into multibillion-dollar companies on the basis of one universal truth: people are compelled to share,” wrote Danny Rimer in a blog post. “But while both of these social media behemoths serve an important purpose, they don’t necessarily serve as the best place to address a very important human need: the freedom to share our true thoughts – anonymously and without fear of judgment.”