Anonymous messaging apps are some of the world's most popular apps. Infact, Sarahah, a secret messaging app, currently has millions of users and has been at the top of Apple's App Store for weeks in dozens of countries. The eventual problem with these apps is that their usage can usually not be controlled.
But, Whitespaces, a Nigeria-based start-up lab/creative agency is willing to try. The agency has developed Banta, a mobile app and a social interaction platform that allows users to anonymously share and express opinions, experiences, ideas and just about anything on their minds.
Banta wants to help users discover their strength and areas for improvement by helping them also build a community of people giving them honest feedback. The Banta app is specifically geared at helping people make their current and past experiences known to the general public without the fear of stigmatization, essentially learning how others handled a similar situation from interactions on the platform. But while founder, Mark Afolabi's intentions for Banta are pure and helpful, one may not be able to say the same for the eventual users of the app.
For other anonymous apps that have come before: Secret, Yik Yak, Whisper (pivoted to lifestyle blogging), the anonymity, their biggest value proposition, became their eventual downfall. Users criticized those apps saying they facilitate and encourage online bullying and truth be told, the greatest purveyor of online abuse is the ability to hide behind a computer without fear of your identity being discovered.
Banta's mission is great, and I'm hopeful that the app will be able to keep the negativity to a minimum with strict community management, anti-bullying features like block and report buttons, and quick responses to user reports.