Do you remember the feeling when you used Facebook for the first time? Well, in many ways it was like a breeze of fresh air, wasn’t it? However, as time passed, obviously people craved for something new and different, after all, as they say change is the only constant.
Now today social media networks have taken several different forms in order to meet the many different demands of people. One such form is anonymous social networking. It was in the year 2014 that we noticed a surge in the anonymous social networking apps, like there was Whisper, Secret, Facebook Rooms, &YikYak, to meet the changing demands of people. No wonder, these apps turned out to be a huge hit among the masses, as people absolutely loved this level of privacy in the digital age.
So, what were these anonymous social networks aiming at this step? The idea was simple – to introduce safe & authentic communication platform to people that worked for both private & public social spheres. In the case of Anonymous social apps, they don’t need people to make user-profiles and need just little information about users. These apps allow their users to express their views and feelings freely, without any vulnerability.
A free Android & iOS app, Whisper enable its users to send an anonymous message and receive the replies. The messages that the users have posted are displayed as text that’s superimposed over an image, which appears like a greeting card.
What are the types of Anonymous social networking?
There are two types of anonymous social networks. Also, these two kinds of anonymous social networking apps can be blended along or they can be used within the same mobile app.
- Anonymous Chat-based apps: These are one-on-one or group messaging platforms, enabling the users to communicate with the other users sans divulging their identity. Like, we have Sarahah & Popcorn Messaging, for instance.
- Anonymous Social media platforms: These platforms allow people to share different types of content with the app users via news feed. Like, we have YikYak& Whisper, for instance.
Why does one need to create Whisper like mobile apps?
As per the Pew Research Center study conducted in the year 2013, “eighty-six percent of the internet users took steps to avoid any surveillance & safeguard their anonymity. Irony has that just 37% of the people think that complete anonymity is possible.”
These people made efforts to mask their actions/behaviour and avoided being tracked by the advertisers or certain set of people be it their employers, people from the past , hackers, or law enforcement or even governments (mainly since Snowden made the big revelation that ‘real-name’ networks, such as Facebook were tracked by government).
This led to the evolution of anonymous social networking apps like Secret & Whisper, which gained instant prominence in a really short span of time, and also new entrants like Sneaky, Erodr, YikYak offer people chance to post without revealing their identity.
Anonymity have become really important in this era of internet and online communication. After anonymity is the best mean to combat cyberbullying. Apps such as Secret & Whisper allow people a chance to confess things, which may otherwise potential destroy their personal lives, involving loss of friendship, marriage, jobs, sans any repercussions. This way, they get to bare out their souls any their trouble.
Are you looking to create an app like Whisper? Why it is the right time to do it?
If you are someone who is planning on creating an app like Whisper, then this is just the right time to do so. Today, everyone is raving about anonymous social network app development, and starting out in the arena can be really a profitable deal for you.
But before that let’s understand the kind of information that users want to protect:
- Emails Contents
- Contacts that users are sending emails to
- Content or Files download
- User location at the time s/he is online
- Online chat & messenger content
Usually, to hide from their observers, people try clearing out browsing history or cookies or they use fake social media profiles. Many users even took the sophisticated route where they encrypted their emails or used VPNs (Virtual Personal Network), or even proxy servers designed especially to prevent the tracking of online behavior. However, it is obvious that people would like more control over privacy and this is why anonymous social media networks that encourage the same kind of human connection as offered by Facebook are a hit.
Txtter– Photo & Social Networking App Developed By Octal IT Solution
How would you identify the users if they’re anonymous?
With Whisper-like Anonymous social networking apps, important personal information, like photos, email addresses, videos, birthdate, phone numbers, workplaces, addresses, & friend list doesn’t exist in the user profiles. In fact, at time there is no profile at all.
Like, in case with Whisper, it is not possible to check anyone’s profile page. What one can do go through their own profile in order to see everything that they have liked and posted. Also, people get push notifications on their phones whenever anyone like or reply to their post. This means that the app knows that which device it should be sending a notification to, despite the fact that it didn’t ask you to login.
This way, Anonymous social networking can also be categorized into types – login & non-login.
Login: There are a number of anonymous social networking apps requiring users to login. Like, in some apps, the users need entering a password and they are assigned an @id no. These numbers begin at @alpha1 & then they go through @alpha999 prior to they move on to @beta1 and @beta9999. Then the other mobile apps they ask the user to enter any random username & password or often their mobile number. Anonymous social networking app developers will use your phone number to show the posts done by your friends, and this certainly will make you willing to spend more time within the app.
Non-login: In few of the anonymous social networking apps, users doesn’t require logging in, so it’s not possible to get their email or name. So to track the anonymous users, a unique user ID& token can be generated, which can then be associated with a user’s device solely. This way, when a user will access your app from another of his device, your app will then generate another token & will be creating a whole new entity in the database. Now, the user ID & posts aligned with it are stored on the backend and as someone like or reply to it, a push notification can be sent from the app to the device which is linked to that particular USER ID. Besides, its location information can also be accessed to generate nearby feeds.
Few years back, UDID (a unique device identifier) was used by the iOS developers as a kind of anonymized token. But, later in 2013, Apple went on to stop the acceptance of the iPad & iPhone app that collect UDID. Now the reason for this act was mainly owing to the security concern.
What are the features of a Whisper-like mobile app?
Here we have first begun with the basic features of Whisper-like app, where there are two kind of users:
- Front-end user (App Users)
- Back-end User (App Admin)
Features of the App User:
Features of the Admin Panel:
Anonymity: The Anonymity is the main feature of this app as it enables the user to post their thoughts or secrets in an anonymous manner, where the system will be generating a nickname that is shown to the other users rather than the users’ real identification.
Assigning of a nickname: To maintain the anonymity of the users, each users is given a nickname that is assigned by the system. This automated process will be taking place after the user registration.
CMS Integration: Content is the integral part of this platform where it helps the app users to read correct information of the system and learn about the system.
Privacy & Security: It is vital for the system to assure user data privacy and security. Now each of the user data is saved by system to view & check any time. So, in case a user breaks any law or does anything unwarranted, then the admin can take an action against that user.
Chat-logs: The system consists of whole of the user data and with chat log timestamp being one of them, thus system will be saving chat log time stamp for privacy and security purpose. System will be able to examine any of the chat log and in case any culprit of found, then that user will be removed from the system.
Real-time Reporting: This feature comprise of real-time reporting concerning user registration, most-liked posts, user posts, most reported posts, total reports, and much more. Here each of the report can be viewed by admin with date range and time filter.
Cloud Storage: Integrating cloud storage is useful in keeping user data private and secure. It enhances the app security measures. Amazon cloud storage works well for cloud storage.
Website, App, PWA: Here in this functionality, the system is implemented in website, mobile apps & PWA, and this way it will be accessible on any of the devices.
Track Location: System can track user location to track user activity, like where the user is currently existing and then they can suggest nearby people to locate. Their location can be tracked via GPS API.
Voice: This is a user-experience in video form, where the system will be allowing users to share your experience with system. Here, users can make a video and then share that on system. Users can also see entire voice and may also search voice for specific issues like depression, sadness and thus can get experienced. Besides, if the user is using PC, then they will be requiring the latest Flash Player.
Analytics & Tracking: Here the system will be analyzing and tracking data using some API users & technologies. System will be tracking user measurement, ads tracking, conversion, ad visitors, etc. Also, the system can use Google Analytics 360 & comScore.
Managing login session: Users can manage the login session of each user, where they can see how many users are using the system actively.
These were a few of the advanced features of the Whisper-like Anonymous social media mobile apps. Next, let’s move on to the main purpose of such apps, i.e. sharing content. Now, this is also the main problem of these apps.
Trender – Social Networking App Developed by Octal IT Solution
What measures do anonymous social media apps must take to reduce cyber bullying?
Cyberbullying is often said to be prevalent on social media platforms. But if we look at the picture closely than it’s not all about the social media apps. People often play comparatively nasty when they are behind some mask.
Not behaving properly goes hand in hand with secret identities. Gossiping, selling of drugs, extortion and engaging in filthy activities comes along with online anonymity. Some handful of teen suicides were also reported because of online anonymity. So how should you fight with this kind of abuse on your anonymous social network? There are a few ways to do so, like:
Flag posts: Allowing the users to flag posts that may seem inappropriate to them can help in reducing cyber bullying. If some user keeps on sending abusive content, the person can issue him an in-app warning and even if that also doesn’t help than the person can block that user.
Remove abusive posts: In order to remove or inspect any abusive or harmful posts, hiring of a team of individuals is required. Along with that development of an algorithm to detect plus remove abusive posts also needs to be done.
Limit the number of users: This way, all the content a person post is available to the public, however only the users that are registered can post on that person’s profile. This method is used by the Cloak app to keep the rubbish at bay in the app feeds.
Geofencing: With the implementation of Geo fencing using GPS coordinates, one can prevent the app from working in some specific area. Yik Yak went on to apply geo-fencing around middle & high schools in the U.S. after the spike in cyberbullying.
The application of measures to stop cyberbullying via anonymous apps is the need of the hour. But sanitizing the apps in order to protect people’s feelings resulted in Apps losing their popularity. After an app agreed to work along with the regulators to implement Cyberbullying protections, it slipped from the top spot of App store. In other words with the drop in trash talk, there is a drop in the app’s popularity. But, irrespective of all the controversy around the social media apps, they possess great potential to achieve big. Similarly, creating an anonymous social media app can turn out to be challenging but on the other hand, exciting too.
How can we develop anonymous social network?
Well, there is a procedure to create such kind of apps, however there are a few essential things that must be kept in mind while one begins with the development process.
Keep your communication channel secure: Your app will have to store some data no matter how minimal it is. Like, an anonymous messenger would require a contact list, a user id, activity history, texts. This info can be kept away from unauthorized access by keeping it encrypted. And this can be done with two keys: private and public. This is often used in the case of bribery.
The public key is used in order to decrypt texts and contacts inside a chat. While the private key is used by chat creators to post new texts. In fact, the chat names can turn out to be the public key. Thus, a person aware of the chat name can easily read it but only some out there can write to it.
Protection of private information: No app out there is secure. All the famous apps have tried to be super secure but failed in their attempt. Hackers gets attracted by these super secure statements. Thus, selecting the data that you want to secure is important when you turn towards anonymity. Designing your site in such a way that it can contain the necessary data and refuse the unnecessary data. Storing as little information as possible will protect your future users.
Content Moderation: An app Sarahahwas launched in Saudi Arabia in 2016. That app was created in order to allow the users to send anonymous texts to the other users. It mainly was launched to enable corporate employees to send anonymous feedback on the manager’s performance.
The app straight rose to the top on the Apple App Store. It gained over the top popularity in more than 30 countries like UK, USA & France, over 1/4 billion visitors plus 1 billion page views. As recorded in 2017, it had over 62 million users.
But unfortunately there was more than required user-generated content after a while or we can say offensive content. As a result, it becomes a go-to place for cyberbullies.
User-generated Content can prove to be a nightmare to any of the social media platforms. But there are some social media apps like Whisper that has successfully fended off cyberbullies by doing comment moderation with the help of artificial intelligence tools and human moderation team. Going by records, the app launched in Saudi Arabia has collected $6100000 and still growing in numbers.
Prominent Tools for Content Moderation:
Begin with the must-have tools, they are:
- Basic explicit content moderation algorithm.
- Report option with further human moderation.
- Internal CMS (Content Moderation System).
The other tools that come useful are:
- Outsource content moderation to a firm like Sykes.
- Image/Video moderation via machine learning.
- Geo-fencing to cut fake accounts from specific locations.
- Volunteered content moderators (they work well for the starters).
Location Anonymizers: There are a lot of ways to determine a user’s location. The most accurate one out there is GPS. Other alternatives make use of the IP address. This method can be said to be less accurate in comparison to GPS but with login time and the device’s footprint, IP address can often be used by various authorities for the purpose of de-anonymization.
To confront this type of problem, one can make use of VPN networks, proxies, and software like Tor which provide protection versus network surveillance and traffic analysis. Tor keeps it users secure by the redirection of their communications via a distributed circuit of relays managed by volunteers across the globe.
Device footprints and location can also be turned into something useful. In place of tagging users via emails, some apps generate some unique token which is tagged with some user’s device. In this way, posts, messages, info will get connected with the physical devices. So in this way, no one other than the device owner can access their profile.
Choosing an app development partner to create app like Whisper
Creating anonymous social media apps like Whisper is a really tiring and expensive affair. However, the best part is that today there are a number of good anonymous social media app development companies out there, that helps the businesses in developing feature-rich and excellent anonymous social media apps. There are a few firms that offer great services at reasonable prices and hence you can get an amazing app delivered to you.
What is the cost to create a Whisper-like anonymous social networking app?
The cost of developing a Whisper like mobile app depends on a number of factors, such as:
- Features List;
- App development team (iOS, Android developers, Project manager, UX/UI Designers, QA Experts)
- Region of the App Development Company
- Number of Platforms (Android or iOS, or both)
Once, these factors are sorted, it may take around $25000-$30000 to create a basic mobile app for anonymous social networks with the basic features, for one platform. Meanwhile, in case if you choose to create the app for both platforms and add more features, then the cost may raise up to $40000. However, going up in price arena will certainly enhance the app quality to an all-new level.