Do you fancy the idea of keeping your identity hidden in a social network? Do you feel you should have full control over whom you choose to reveal you’re true identity to? There are social networking sites that support that. Unlike other popular social networking sites, nobody will consider you a threat if you chose not to reveal your identity. After all, who can really authenticate the identities people claim these days on the internet?
These Anonymous Social Networks encourage users to stay anonymous or adopt pseudonyms. Pseudonyms are messages that disappear quickly mostly after opening.
Most supposedly private social networking services are far from private, of course. The not-so-secret truth about them is they aren’t very secret at all. They may not be open billboards to the world, like blogs and tweets, but most of the content they share is traceable or recordable in some fashion.
With that disclaimer out of the way,
The idea of online communities where people can adopt aliases and virtual identities is as old as the Internet but is taking new twists and shapes as it enters the smartphone era.
Find below a list of anonymous social networking sites and apps, with a few pseudo “private” networks thrown in (services that attempt to make messages disappear):
Whisper / Anonymous Social Networks
This was one of the first so-called anonymous mobile apps, launched in 2012. It’s designed for publicly sharing secrets, a kind of public confessional booth. Users share their thoughts anonymously in the form of an image and a sentence or two of text. There is no concept of identity on this platform at all—people share their thoughts without attaching a pseudonym or name. Which makes this app more anonymous than some of the others. Whisper is available on both the iPhone and Android platforms.
Yik Yak / Anonymous Social Networks
This location-based messaging service was launched by Furman University students in December 2013. It’s designed for college students interested in communicating with a large number of other students who are in their relatively small geographic area. Like some other anonymous social networking services, Yik Yak has drawn a lot of criticism because some students have used it to bully their classmates.
Wut’s self-described “semi-anonymous chat” app launched in January 2014 for the iPhone, with promises of an Android version soon. It’s a cross between Snapchat and Facebook, with a big twist. What’s different is that people connect with their friends on Wut, and can only send messages to those friends. But no one gets informed which friend sent which message. So people wind up playing a guessing game as to who created what content. Messages are deleted after a while, making it a bit like Snapchat.
This iPhone app also offers a pseudo-private messaging service, allowing those who have it installed to chat with other users who happen to be within a one-mile radius. It’s a very simple chat room, reminiscent of the days when America Online hosted real-time chats and people talked anonymously in a ton of different chat rooms on AOL.
Rumr’s tag line is “anonymous messaging with people you know.” Launched in March 2014, it lets groups of friends create private chat rooms and anonymizes them when they enter, so they know they’re in there with pals but don’t know which one is saying what. It’s a chat room version of Wut. “It’s like having a conversation with the lights off,” Rumr says on its download page.