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Parents warned about social media app 'Yik Yak' Home News Sports Life Blogs Obits Photos Videos Ads Autos Jobs Real Estate Outdoor Special Sections Local State National World Business Health Opinion Politics Latest Headlines: Miniature zebu, one of the world smallest cow breeds, at East Texas State Fair Sunrise Paw Park dog park donations stolen 10th Annual Texas Wounded Warriors Pro Am this weekend Railroad Quiet Zone set to curb noise in downtown Palestine Smith County recognizes firefighters for participation in Dallas 9/11 memorial stair climb Tyler Solid Waste Department, Keep Tyler Beautiful sponsor free bulky item collection Smith County launches new tool on website for job seekers to find open positions Tyler hires Scott Taylor of Conroe as new managing director of public works and utilities In November, San Francisco based launched, joining another app that has been gaining traction for its promise of online anonymity, which launched in 2012. Recently, raised $8.6 million from outside investors, while drew $21 million in funding. Last week, another anonymous social app, Yak, focused on texting, raised $1.5 million. While the apps have been criticized as potential breeding grounds for cyberbullying, they grown on the promise of compelling personal anecdotes that don have nike new shoes a place on the public social Web and for passing along industry gossip, especially in tech heavy locales such as Austin and Silicon Valley. Joseph McGlynn III, a doctoral researcher with the Center for Identity at the University of Texas at Austin, has been studying these kinds of apps and says there are good reasons for their existence. such as and are valuable in that they can provide a platform for people to discuss sensitive topics, McGlynn said. Users, he said, can speak more freely with less fear of judgment, retaliation or social alienation. about negative or troubling experiences is a cathartic process for many people, McGlynn said. ability for people to be part of a community while remaining anonymous is particularly promising. What do people post on these apps? A lot of it is everyday minutiae, eye popping sex talk (infidelity and monogamy are constant themes, at least on and loose chatter about impending departures at companies such as Google or Nike. During South by Southwest Interactive in March, some early adopters of shifted their focus from Silicon Valley to the Austin festival and posted frequent updates about debauched partying and withering criticisms of the fest and people attending. But sometimes the ugly Internet can surprise and a harrowing post might take a reader breath away. Plaintive posts from the lonely and suicidal are often met with comments of deep sympathy and reassurance. One haunting post from a few months back was from a father whose wife was pregnant with a second child. The couple, he posted, had just talked themselves out of an abortion and were now bewildered as to how they would manage with two kids. Other nike 90 cleats users responded with encouragement and advice. Typically, the posts aren the kind you find on Twitter or on Facebook, where everything one posts sticks to their identity forever. They could all be made up. There no way to know. But much of it feels deeply human and frail, bits that would be bulldozed and overanalyzed on the public Web. Chrys Bader, a co founder of says that humanity is the point. is human at the core, and we all have the same human issues, regardless of where you are and who you are, Bader said. tremendous power in the information because of the way we built it. started with just 100 users, friends of the founders who were testing out the app. Bader said they noticed right away that even in a small, semi anonymous community, people were coming back again and again to share. Though Bader says that personal struggles and daily anecdotes make up a lot of it also emerging as an information back channel. Word that the head of Google Plus, Vic Gundotra, was leaving the company began appearing on days before it was official. Anonymous gossip, to no one surprise, spreads fast. are finding out about things first on Bader said. He says the company is focused on releasing an Android version and expanding the product globally, especially to countries where there are more restrictions on free speech. But is anyone every truly anonymous online? Even Bader admits that no online entity is ever 100 percent secure and unhackable. anonymous in the app, but that doesn mean you untraceable, he said. The company does nike shoes soccer not allow illegal activity through the app and allows users to flag inappropriate or abusive posts for review. separates the identities of posters from the things they post, making it more difficult for hackers to break in and match up posts with people personal information, but it not impossible. Adam Tyler, chief innovation officer at Austin CSID, a company that specializes in data breaches and identity protection, said these apps offer a kind of lite, consumer version of what known online as the Web. Services such as and are often used by those who don want to be monitored or identified online. But, Tyler said, apps such as and are using the Internet without requiring additional privacy software or services. is something that can never be guaranteed, Tyler said. offered by commercial companies located in government regulated territories is an even harder promise to make. Hsieh, who continues to use says she worries about that and is careful not to overshare. Because relies on a user phone contacts to mark posts as coming from or of friends (you can also choose to view posts near you, and posts from other cities also appear based on popularity) she even found it easy to bust through the anonymity with her own deduction skills. just saw a post yesterday from someone who said they couldn post any more secrets because everyone in their office automatically knew it was them, Hsieh said. been kind of easy to guess who been posting what.