PostSecret Pulls iOS App Over Abusive Submissions

by

blog logoThe iOS app for the popular PostSecret blog has been removed by creator Frank Warren. In a blog post on Sunday, Warren laid out the unsurmountable problems with the app, as opposed to the standard PostSecret website.

On the website, anonymous users share their deepest secrets with the world by physically mailing a postcard to a Maryland address. In the app, however, users simply post anonymous messages via their iPhone. As with any anonymous forum on the Internet, malicious users come out of the woodwork to abuse the system, as Warren explained:

99% of the secrets created were in the spirit of PostSecret. Unfortunately, the scale of secrets was so large that even 1% of bad content was overwhelming for our dedicated team of volunteer moderators who worked 24 hours a day 7 days a week removing content that was not just pornographic but also gruesome and at times threatening.

Bad content caused users to complain to me, Apple and the FBI. I was contacted by law enforcement about bad content on the App. Threats were made against users, moderators and my family. (Two specific threats were made that I am unable to talk about). As much as we tried, we were unable to maintain a bully-free environment. Weeks ago I had to remove the App from my daughter's phone.

Like many of you, I feel a great sense of loss from this decision but please know that we fought hard behind the scenes to find a permanent solution. We even tried prescreening 30,000 secrets a day. Deciding to remove the App from the App Store last week and holding back the release of the Android version cost us money but we feel it was the right thing to do.

Warren notes that while the app is closed, the PostSecret blog and the traditional post card-based submissions are still being accepted via snail mail.

Top Rated Comments

Xenc Avatar
118 months ago
People are stupid.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SandboxGeneral Avatar
118 months ago
Wow. That's despicable how people abuse things like that to post inappropriate and threatening things, which obviously, ruined it for the majority of people. :mad:
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
swb1192 Avatar
118 months ago
Why not just remove the submission part of the app?
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dysamoria Avatar
118 months ago
Congratulations to the Internet for (repeatedly) reaffirming how horrifying human beings can be when given freedom from even basic consequences.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nagromme Avatar
118 months ago

The idea of a 'managed' yet 'anonymous' forum on iOS is an expired pipe dream. Just look at the App Store Review system with it's nicknames rather than true Usernames or genuine emails, it's chock full of BS from all sides to the point of being a total joke.

Really hate to say this, but FaceBook has it right, be who you are. Say what you want and stand behind it.

If you don't want anyone to know what you're saying, or if what you're saying if a lie, violent, or breaking the law, perhaps you should shut up.


Agreed, up to a point; anonymity puts people on their worst behavior. Just look at online dating and drivers on the road! But Facebook’s (and Google’s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Schmidt#Views)) path is equally a pipe dream: you need anonymity if you’re speaking about those with power over you. Your boss, your government when corrupt (and there will always be instances where it is), anyone with enough money to make you suffer, anyone who wants to cover something up enough to make you suffer, etc.

Plus, Facebook goes one step further than just “be who you are”: they also gather and use info on who you are for profit. (As does Google, and nearly any free service including TV. And I think free services like that are a great option sometimes, but they have a downside.) Any time you put real info out there, you are offering value to companies to make use of it. Maybe not in ways you’d choose if you knew the details (and you probably never will). Is your private info usually abused? No, usually not... I would guess. But that’s not good enough.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleRockerAlex Avatar
118 months ago
Exactly

The idea of a 'managed' yet 'anonymous' forum on iOS is an expired pipe dream. Just look at the App Store Review system with it's nicknames rather than true Usernames or genuine emails, it's chock full of BS from all sides to the point of being a total joke.

Really hate to say this, but FaceBook has it right, be who you are. Say what you want and stand behind it.

If you don't want anyone to know what you're saying, or if what you're saying if a lie, violent, or breaking the law, perhaps you should shut up.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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