Thu. Apr 18th, 2019

An anonymous message app spreads cyberbullying among young people

Una app de mensajes anónimos propaga el ciberacoso entre jóvenes

A new mobile application has set off alarms among parents, educators and digital surveillance organizations for promoting the cyber bullying among young people Is about
, an app that allows users formulate and answer questions anonymously.

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The creators of the application believe that this way you can encourage an open and honest conversation, but experts say that what favors is cyberbullying and cruelty.

The application defines itself as "the most honest place on the internet"; the name "Tellonym" is a contraction of "Tell" (count) and "anonymous". The idea is that users create a non-anonymous profile, and from that profile they can leave anonymous "warnings" or messages destined to "tell me what you think of me". If a user chooses to respond to an anonymous "warning", the conversation will appear in their profile.

Created in 2016 by three German students, the Tellonym app currently has 13 million users, as can be seen in the App Store. However, the SensorTower application monitoring service reports that the application had 600,000 downloads in January 2019, as published in Mashable.

In July 2018, the application began to become popular internationally and in several parts of the world there has been information about schools that alert families about possible cases of cyberbullying among adolescents.

On its website, the Tellonym application claims that it is trying to prevent bullying and that for that they block 85 percent of short messages that violate its terms. In theory, they also eliminate 50 percent of the messages that violate the conditions of use.

"Our filters are implemented to automatically remove content that does not comply with our Community Guidelines. We have an active moderator community that helps us improve those filters on a regular basis and have a solid data set to test them, "can be read on the Tellonym website.

"We take parental concerns very seriously and are working very hard to counteract any misuse of Tellonym," says the app's CEO, Maximillian Rellin, at Mashable. "Creating a system that is safe because of its design was one of our main motivations," he adds.

This is not the first anonymous messaging service aimed at young people who have been involved in the controversy. Anonymous message services such as Yik Yak and Sarahah had to close after a long controversy over cases of abuse and intimidation.

But it is also that the Tellonym app presents a series of inconsistencies, errors and a style of informal communication that does not help in creating confidence in the ability of the team to manage an anonymous community of teenagers. To begin with, a photo published on the Instagram of the app that shows the Tellonym team shows a group of young people, seven boys and one girl, who do not seem to be over 20 years old.

Among other things, the app does not make clear who has permission to use it, because in the App Store it states that they must be over 17 years old while in the terms of use of the website they indicate that they must be over 13.

According to Tellonym's CEO, users older than 13 can use the app, but as long as they have entered with a parent's email address, and can not download the application until Tellonym obtains written consent from their parents. .

Finally, another thing that is not clear is the security options, because the link to consult on the web direct to an empty page.

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