Anonymous Blogging App Secret Produces Its First Viral Hoax
Information not meant for public consumption is powerful, which is why the English language evolved a word for such content: secret.
The app of the same name — Secret — put that on display earlier on Thursday after a post to the anonymous social network asserted that popular note-taking application Evernote was about to be acquired.
Various Twitter users posted the message, which also made its way to the comments of a Valleywag post about Secret.
— Eric Unangst (@unangst) February 6, 2014
Secret is an app that allows people to post anonymous messages that will be read by their friends or friends of friends. Posts also feature a comments section that is also anonymous.
The note eventually came to the attention of Evernote CEO Phil Libin, who felt compelled to deny the notion.
The story has already gained some traction, with TechCrunch’s Ryan Lawler noting that one person has already claimed authorship of the post, although those tweets have since been deleted.
Apps that thrive on anonymity and impermanence have gained popularity as previous Internet transgressions begin to haunt users who spent their younger and less restrained years making permanent mistakes on the web.
Questions about the legal use of these programs has risen along with their popularity. Snapchat has already become the subject of concerns about insider trading. A similar app, Confide, seeks to make it easier to leak data.
Secret poses a slightly different legal question. If Evernote were in the midst of a fundraising round, a posting about an acquisition could have serious impact on negotiations. There are even larger-scale consequences for public companies. Anonymity and markets can be a powerful combination, as shown by the 15-year-old who used Yahoo message boards to pump up prices of stocks he bought.