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Larry Magid: Apps That Enable Anonymous Comments Online

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LarryMagid01-228 Larry Magid
Larry Magid is a technology journalist and an Internet safe...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— People are used to sharing information on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, but as their circle of contacts grows from close personal friends to include family, co-workers and even bosses, they may have to be more careful about what it is they post.

Now, there are a handful of new apps that give users a bit more anonymity. They include; Secret, Confide, Whisper and Yik Yak.

It’s almost a backlash against Facebook and Twitter and all these sites where people are who they are. They really emphasize real name culture, thought that isn’t always the case.

On Facebook, I am Larry Magid and anything I post I am held accountable for. But there are times, for one reason or another, you may want to say something, but not be associated with it. Maybe you’re a whistleblower or want to talk about something your boss did. It could be your own social activism. There are innumerable reasons why someone would want to go on Facebook and ask something anonymously.

However, there are some downsides to having anonymity on the Internet. The comment section on blogs, and other news or media sites has been notorious for people who post hateful messages. It happens everywhere from the Huffington Post to SFgate.

Yik Yak is already popular with teens and there have been reports of bullying. I would argue that the bullying is more of a symptom of social relationships and less of a symptom of these sites, but these apps certainly enable it.

In a nutshell that’s what these apps do, they enable you to say things on the Internet that you don’t want to be held accountable for.

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