The secret’s out. Frank Warren, head of the PostSecret iPhone app, spontaneously announced on New Years’ Day that he is shutting down the app only three months after it hit the App Store. Unfortunately, the excessive malicious content published in the app led to its downfall.
PostSecret was a $1.99 app that enabled iPhone owners to get anything off of their chest by submitting an anonymous secret or confession. PostSecret users could then see the secret and publish their own reaction.
Due to the complete anonymity in the app, users with bad intent published inappropriate material, often sexually explicit or even threatening. This led to complaints to PostSecret, Apple, and the FBI. Though PostSecret desperately tried to keep the situation under control, it became far too much for the team of moderators to handle. Warren writes:
“99% of the secrets created were in the spirit of PostSecret. Unfortunately, the scale of secrets was so large that even 1% of bad content was overwhelming for our dedicated team of volunteer moderators who worked 24 hours a day 7 days a week removing content that was not just pornographic but also gruesome and at times threatening.”
It’s sad that terrible people can get the best of something with truly good intent, as is the story of the PostSecret iPhone app. On the bright side, PostSecret continues to exist, but now users can send in creative secrets via postcards.