Blindspot, the anonymous messaging app launched by Israeli company Shellanoo is only one month old. It has however come under fire from parents, educators and lawmakers who claim it will encourage cyberbullying.
Tagged as a "fun, anonymous messaging app that allows you to express yourself freely with friends," the app has already become one of the most popular downloads in Israel's iPhone and Android app stores. So far more than 720,000 people have already downloaded it worldwide.
The company is gearing for a big promotional push in the US next week. So far 54 million anonymous messages have been sent using Blindspot. Forbes has called it "the next big messaging app."
"What would you say to people you know if you were anonymous?" ask the creators in the website. It states the key features of the app as follows:
- chat one-to-one with your friends;
- whatever you send no one will know that it's really you;
- your name and contact details will always be hidden, until you decide to reveal your identity;
- express yourself freely to one another;
- share text, photos, videos and voice-notes instantly; and
- you can always block anyone that annoys you.
It further adds: "We believe in being open and honest, providing a safe environment for people to chat freely without worrying about being judged."
The app has received various reviews. One user Michael Krauss said: "Bullying app Can't see a good purpose for this app. Why would you want to send a sms message to someone anonymously unless it is nefarious? For whistleblowing, there are better applications."
Israeli lawmakers agree and are now pushing to have it banned in the country. "If you are going to say something nice, you wouldn't send it anonymously," lawmaker Meirav Ben-Ari said, reports AFP. Politicians discussed the app in parliament last week, claiming that it could be used for bullying that might even lead to suicide.
High schools have warned parents against allowing their children to download the app. Messages sent through the app can only be read if the receiver has downloaded the app as well.
Shellanoo group head of media relations, David Strauss backed the app. "I think the concern is not just about Blindspot but about all new technology in general, and I can understand that. He continued: "There is no such thing as a mean app or a mean knife, there is only mean people. Bullying existed before Blindspot and will exist after it too."
The company, which produces security software and other technology products has a celebrity line-up for investors. They include musicians Nicki Manaj, Will I. Am and DJ David Guetta. Even Chelsea Football Club's Roman Abramovich is also an investor, says South China Morning Post.