Another anonymous app is at the top of the App Store and it might be because it’s figured out anonymous apps’ biggest problem: bullying.
Called “tbh,” short for “to be honest,” the app takes an unconventional approach to anonymity. While it allows friends to anonymously communicate, it only allows users to exchange compliments, which are sent via in-app quizzes.
The app, which is aimed at middle schoolers and high schoolers, connects to your address book so you can find people you know. It serves up a series of “polls” about your friends. The questions change but they are all positive, asking you to choose the “world’s best party planner,” or who is “too lit to be legit.”
The app keeps identities a secret, but users can see some details about who’s picked them (e.g. “a girl in the tenth grade”). It’s also borrowed some of the addictive dynamics of free-to-play games, though it doesn’t use in-app purchases at the moment.
If someone “chooses” you in a poll, you earn “gems,” which you can use to unlock more features within the app. You can only complete a set number of polls at a time and when you run out, you need to wait for a timer before you can take on more.
That all may sound gimmicky, but it’s proven to be a winning formula with teens. The app, which is currently only available in a handful of states, has been steadily climbing the App Store charts since it launched in August. On Thursday, it reached the top spot, beating out Facebook, Snapchat, Gmail, and the other apps that typically sit at the top of the App Store.
Addicting Candy Crush-like rules aside, some of that success may also be attributed to tbh’s emphasis on positivity. There are only positive “polls” so users aren’t able to easily bully each other — a problem that’s plagued Sarahah and other teen-centric anonymous apps.
Whether that will be enough to make the app stick with image-obsessed teens is another matter. But it’s definitely off to a strong start.