How to Develop an Anonymous Social Networking App
Social networks have evolved over the last few years. They are being constantly modified to exceed the expectations of the users and make them stay on the platform as long as possible. These online platforms come in various forms and types. Anonymous social network is one of them. The year 2014 appeared to be the turning point for this niche after the introduction of such applications as Secret, Facebook Rooms, Whisper and more. These apps gave immediately taken the audience by storm meeting the demands of users searching for a higher privacy level.
The main mission of such social networks is to establish as secured and authentic online communication as possible. They cover not only private segments but also public spheres. Anonymous applications differ from traditional social networks awe are used to. Here you do not have to create your profile or provide precise and detailed personal information. These platforms are the best bet whenever a user is eager to express his or her thoughts safely.
Why Are Anonymous Apps so Popular?
Online anonymity is turning into a new modern trend. According to the results of some latest researches, more than 80% of online users want to benefit from additional privacy when being online. There are several reasons for such demands. Some users simply hate it being guided by advertising. Others simply want to steer clear of hackers and different types of frauds. Some users are eager to hide their behavior from governmental establishments and avoid federal issues.
We are all aware of some simple strategies to mask our online actions. All you need is to clear your cookies as well as browse history. Fake names and profiles appear to be another common way to hide users’ behavior. Users that are more acknowledgeable opt for some more complicated ways like encrypting emails or using VPNs. It is not surprising, more and more people are eager to have more control over their privacy. The article will be dedicated to anonymous social networking app development.
How Can Anonymous App Identify Its Users?
We have already mentioned that anonymous social networks differ from traditional online platforms. Here you will never find user’s photos, workplace, a list of friends and other typical private information. Moreover, you will hardly come across users’ profiles.
For example, Whisper app does not provide profile pages. You can only manage your own page and manage your own posts and likes. At the same time, you will be notified whenever any user likes your post or replies to it. It means that the application knows exactly what device a push notification must be sent to despite the fact you has not passed the registration and has not even logged in.
For this reason, all anonymous networks have two major classifications:
Non-Login Anonymous Social Networks
We are all used to fill in some necessary information before logging in. It may include user’s ID, email, username, etc. On the other hand, there are such types of platforms that do not require logging in. In other words, a network does not receive any private information including your email or name. Tracking users is possible only by creating a special ID for every participant or a token that will be linked to a particular user’s device. In case you use another device to enter the network, another token will be created to be classified with another device. The more devices you use the more tokens a network will generate. A platform can also track the location of devices to generate nearby feeds.
Login Anonymous Social Networks
Some anonymous networks have the same basis as traditional networks. They ask the user to log in by entering a password like in Cloaq app. As soon as you are done with the password, you will be automatically assigned an ID. In some apps, you will need to enter any username you like in addition to a password. It may have nothing in common with your real name. Some apps require indicating a phone number as well. It is necessary to see the posts of your friends. The secret application is based on the same idea. In other words, you need to have a friend’s phone number in case your want to see more secrets. Debuted in 2013, the app has immediately turned into an obsession for many people although it was fun to use it.
You can come across various social apps that consider both types of profiles. The Plaza app is a good example of such platform. The main idea of the app is to let users switch between several profiles. Moreover, they do not need to log out when changing one profile for another. All you need is to go to the setting section. Developers may opt for several strategies in order to add this feature to their code.
The first way considers creating independent classes for every separate profile. Whenever a user chose a particular profile, the other class receives all necessary attributes together with the token of the session.
If you want to avoid any mess in your database, you can opt for another way and create a single huge class that will contain all necessary fields for all profiles at the same time. The only drawback is that such approach has little in common with the term “anonymity”, as all users’ data will be transmitted by ever network request.
The best bet is to generate a range of independent characters attached to the applications. You can follow the example of any RPG game. All characters exist separately without knowing about each other. Any third party is unable to retrieve any data about all profiles at the same time unless it knows a password. The approach has proved to be secure enough in addition to scalability. Moreover, a developer is free to add as many characters to user’s account as he or she needs.
Chats in Anonymous Apps
Many anonymous platforms let user chat in private without any third parties or other members. Some networks use encrypted messages while other opt for unencrypted with a chance to save the conversation on your portable device.
Encrypted messages seem to be better and more efficient when it comes to a higher privacy. This type of messaging is implemented in the majority of anonymous apps. Developers use different tools to enable the feature.
Services like Anonyfish use AES to enable encrypted private chats in addition to different ciphers. Moreover, all conversations are deleted within 45 days from the start. The application was introduced as a special tool for private chatting. It was successfully implemented in the Secret app.
Minds.com is another successful of anonymity platform delivering encrypted private messaging tools that can be used within a social network as well as on mobile and web. The service comes as an open source.
Content Sharing and Interactions in Anonymity Apps
In spite of privacy, the main goal of any anonymous social networking app is to provide a descent communication. In other words, whenever you share any content, post or picture, it is available to other users. The idea is not to exchange content one-to-one. Despite the fact, most of them have private chats as the main feature, they are based on one-to-many sharing model. Moreover, developers still need to have a high level of users’ engagement. For this reason, any sharing is supposed to be connected with geographic location or a specific community.
Developers should take into account a set of other feeds to implement in their anonymous social apps:
Discover and Explore Feeds – to enable popularity of posts and shared content featuring a huge number of replies, comments, likes and more;
Geolocation feeds – to track users’ location and display nearby posts within a common borough or community. This will let people from one group to share content, vote and like posts;
Latest Feeds – to track all recent posts. Moreover, this feed will let you fill the popularity feed as fast as possible;
School Feed – to add additional search letting users choose from a list of schools provided by your database;
Corporate Feeds - to let users log in using their company name. Memo is a good example of such app. It is mainly aimed to unite users by their professional environment as the key filter. The application tracks the information available in LinkedIn.
All the above-mentioned feeds can be used to enable a high level of users’ engagement. For instance, the Secret app lets strangers and other users take part in private conversations unless they are not very active when commenting, replying or liking others’ posts.
Some applications establish additional rewards and bonuses for participating in social networking activities. Whenever a user votes, interacts with a post anyhow or performs any other interaction, he or she receives special points that can be used to benefit from extended features and more. Developers should always keep in mind that any anonymous social app follows the same purpose as traditional networks. It is all about sharing content. However, this goal appears to be also the main problem for the niche.
Preventing Cyber-Bulling in Anonymous Social Apps
Many users and experts criticize anonymous apps for cyberbullying, which has now turned into a huge problem. It would be wrong to say that traditional social platforms like Facebook do not suffer from the same problem. On the other hand, cyber bullies are less likely to choose an open profile for being nasty. At the same tie, whenever a person is not punished for breaking rules, he or she will certainly do it again. Online anonymity platform often features drug sellers, gossipers and other outlaws performing non-reputable activities. However, you can opt for some efficient ways to fight those bullies back and protect your users from cyberbullying as well.
Warnings and Flagging Posts
Whenever a user receives inappropriate message or sees an offensive post, they should have an opportunity to flag it or mark as potentially dangerous. The statistic will reveal users who repeatedly break the rules. In-app warnings can also be a good idea when preventing cyberbullying.
This mean calls for moderators and other people who will hunt inappropriate posts down and remove them. At the same time, developers should work out an efficient detecting algorithm not to miss any potentially dangerous post.
Limited Number of Users
It is always hard to control a big number of users. Limiting them means easier handling with the task. The fewer users you will have the fewer posts they will share. On the other hand, this mean may have a negative effect on the level of engagement.
Many cyber bullies act from certain areas. Geo-fencing will let you detect and block those areas with the help of GPS navigation system. It may be a particular school or borough. On the other hand, cyber bullies will hardly face any difficulties in changing the location to use the application. For this reason, you may need a third-party assistance to input a ban across the entire country.
Note that you will certainly need to take applying measures in order to prevent any types of frauds and cyberbullying. This essential factor defines a trustworthy and successful anonymous social networking app. The idea is to protect people’s impression and feelings, prevent them from offensive posts and struggles within the app. Otherwise, your platform will be out of competition. You will use your customers at short notice.
In spite of some complexity and evident drawbacks, anonymous social applications are a good thing to consider when entering a mobile app market with an award-winning product. The niche comes with a huge potential. However, developers should be skillful and experienced enough to take the challenge, as the task comes with maximum complexity.