Anonymous apps are the latest — and most controversial — social media trend in China.
There are now more than 20 anonymous social network apps in China, with eight new ones launched in June alone.
Proponents note that the apps “fulfill people’s need to gossip,” according to Want China Times. Anonymous posting allows users to vent and share private concerns without worrying about the repercussions of sharing sensitive information.
Wang Xiujian, founder and CEO of Dajie.com, added that such apps provide a space for people to “complain about their jobs without fear of reprisals.” Wang’s company recently launched the Tusi (Toast in English) anonymous social app, and she says that 70 percent of its current content has to do with the workplace.
According to a worker from Wumi that developed Mimi (secret in Chinese), the anonymous app with the highest current number of users, these apps also allow users to seek advice from friends and peers without having to openly share personal information. Some considered Mimi a knock off of the US-made app Secret.
Since the new apps do not require users to register before posting, they also generate a considerable amount of content. If their popularity continues to grow, anonymous apps would “stimulate commercialization through advertising, games and entertainment, value-added and payment services.”
Others are less optimistic, noting that such apps can also generate verbal abuse and, despite their anonymity, can become platforms for personal attacks. For this reason, apps must regulate posts if they are to keep their user base and survive in the market.
image credit: michael davis-burchat