Meet Blindspot, The Anonymous Messaging App That Stirs Up Global Controversy
The first thing you do before making a turn is to check your blind spot. That is, if you’re driving a vehicle. The question is whether you’ll also check your Blindspot app first, before checking your Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat.
The new Israeli app, which allows you to send anonymous messages, is gaining momentum as the next big messaging app among youngsters, but is also stirring up controversy around the globe due to its potential to enable harassment and cyber-bullying.
Crowned as “the next big messaging app” by Forbes magazine in December 2015, this popular app has since ignited a wave of criticism from Israeli parliament members, as well as from international critics, with some even demanding to ban the app.
Others claim that Blindspot is simply a way to say what’s on your mind (to anyone on your contact list) without them knowing it was you. The Israeli developers of Blindspot, Dor Refaeli (brother of world-renowned fashion model Bar Rafaeli) and Lee Greenberg, have said they created the app with the intent of facilitating a platform where people can be more “real” with one another, but also for fun, shameless flirting and harmless pranks.
In less than two months since its launch, the app has become the No. 1 Israeli app in the Apple and Google app stores, with over 750,000 downloads and 60 million messages sent.
How does it work? After downloading the app, you are asked to enter your mobile number and then, a confirmation code is sent to you. Once you enter the confirmation code, you can send anonymous texts, pictures, videos and voice notes to any of your contacts who also have Blindspot.
The idea behind this controversial app has sparked the interest of many celebrities, who invested in Israeli interactive app company Shellanoo Group, which backs Blindspot. The company has $35 million in equity from several high-profile Investors, such as billionaire Roman Abramovich and musicians Nicki Minaj and will.i.am.
Built-in protection against cyber-bullying?
To counter the criticisms concerning cyber-bullying – critics have argued that anonymity can erase all inhibitions – the app allows users to block anyone instantly. In addition, the app’s three-strike policy will remove a user who has been blocked by three other people – they will no longer have access to the app.
Blindspot joins several anonymous messaging apps that have sprung up in recent years, though some – like Secret – have shut down because of harmful messages. However, Snapchat, which also offers anonymous chats, is still hugely popular.
Does anonymous messaging lead to harmless flirting or to cyber-bullying? We certainly hope no one gets hurt.
Photos: Blindspot, Google Play