Anonymous Social Sharing App Secret Shuts Down

In a surprising turn of events, anonymous social sharing app Secret has decided to shut down because it no longer adheres to its founder’s original “vision,” just 16 months after it launched -- and not so long after it raised $25 million in a round of funding that valued the company at $100 million. Secret’s demise was announced in a (fittingly, somewhat mysterious) blog post by co-founder David Byttow. 

At first glance, the decision to shutter Secret appears to be an example of rare thing in Silicon Valley -- the profit motive taking a backseat to, like, feelings and stuff. According to Byttow’s slightly opaque explanation: “This has been the hardest decision of my life and one that saddens me deeply. Unfortunately, Secret does not represent the vision I had when starting the company, so I believe it’s the right decision for myself, our investors and our team.”

On that note, Byttow noted that “Secret, Inc. still has a significant amount of invested capital, but our investors funded the team and the product, and I believe the right thing to do is to return the money rather than attempt to pivot.”

While it’s not quite clear what Byttow’s comment about his “vision” means in this post, TechCrunch noted that Secret’s recent revamp -- likely undertaken at the behest of its new investors -- had removed some of the network’s main points of distinction from other platforms like Yik Yak. Then in January of this year, co-founder Chrys Bader-Wechseler left the company, complaining that the app no longer emphasized design, curation, and visual experience.

Bader-Wechseler’s criticisms probably give a good hint at Byttow’s reasons for leaving. However we will find out more from Byttow himself, as he plans to “publish postmortems” explaining what went wrong (and presumably, right) during Secret’s brief existence.

Until then, Byttow left us with a kind of ominous note about the promise and peril of anonymous sharing, doubtless with reference to high-profile cases of bullying on anonymous sites: “I believe in honest, open communication and creative expression, and anonymity is a great device to achieve it. But it’s also the ultimate double-edged sword, which must be wielded with great respect and care.”

1 comment about "Anonymous Social Sharing App Secret Shuts Down".
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  1. Jon Currie from Currie Communications, Inc., May 1, 2015 at 4:13 p.m.

    We should care why?

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