Sydney startup brings anonymity back to social media, without the cyberbullying
Monday, March 23, 2015/
An anonymous social media platform from Australia has seen more than 5000 users jump onboard since launching just a month ago.
A startup based in Sydney, mimChat, allows users to create an anonymous profile and view a feed that collates the most popular anonymous posts into the one stream – as well as posts from nearby.
The startup has released an Android app and a desktop version, with an iOS app to go live in the next few days.
Co-founder Phil Winterton told StartupSmart he wanted to build a platform where people can say what is on their mind without worrying about their public image in the same way as Facebook or Twitter.
“At the end of the day, you can’t stop certain people with negative crazy talk out there,” he says.
“Anonymity and privacy are definitely the essence of this type of app and that’s something we aim to protect. But we do have a team constantly monitoring any sort of posts or comments deemed to not be in the spirit of what the team hopes to bring about … terrorism or complete racism springs to mind.”
That sounds an awful lot like services already offered by large venture-backed American startups Yik Yak, Whisper, and Secret, which, after raising $US35 million in venture capital, was forced to pivot after struggling to maintain growth.
Even Reddit has moved to tackle online abuse and revenge porn, banning naked photos that are shared on the site if they were taken or uploaded without the subject’s consent. Last week, Facebook updated its community standards in a bid to “create an environment where people feel motivated and empowered to treat each other with empathy and respect”.
Winterton says cyberbullying is a massive issue for social media startups and, in particular, ones that offer their users anonymity. However, he thinks anonymous platforms still serve a purpose.
“Transparency is key,” he says.
“Unless we get subpoenaed by any regulatory bodies, we’re definitely not going to share or give away any identities at all. If we get subpoenaed we will have to give away someone’s IP address, but unless that happens we’re never going to share any details. That trust is how we’re going to build traction.”
A quick scan of mimChat revealed a plethora of memes and funny pictures, with salacious gossip or online abuse nowhere to be found. However, it could only be a matter of time – the internet can be a scary place.
A cultural war: What Hayne's report means for fintechs, accountants and small-business lending Charlotte Petris Timelio founder
In a perfect world: Canva's Melanie Perkins dreams about the future of Australian startups Melanie Perkins Canva co-founder
Swipe right for (data) validation: What dating apps can teach us about data security Leah Callon-Butler intimate.io co-founder
How do Australian startups tap into the $140 billion of dry powder sitting in the US? Andrea Kowalski Bailador partner
No silver bullet: Four steps to find the perfect sales and marketing channel for your startup Vinne Schifferstein Vidal Botown founder
Buzinga to Appster: An insider's theory on why the app giants keep falling Joseph Russell DreamWalk Apps co-founder
Got brand goals? The four most marketable sports of 2019 Andrew Montesi Pickstar head of marketing
What founders can do now to prepare for a possible 2019 recession Les Szekely EVP co-founder