Venture companies are privately and publicly debating on the morality of anonymous apps after a stream of gossips, negative posts, high profile resignation, and violence threats emerged. Netscape founder Marc Andreessen began his speech by referring to products that unequivocally exist for the betterment of humanity. He compared them to those products designed to encourage negative behavior, making souls sad and tearing down people.
Should They Invest?
He questioned in his soliloquy whether these products are worth investing in, from the moral and ethical standpoint, because of the possible negative effects. Investor Mark Suster supported Andreessen?s view despite being singled out as a target on anonymous app Secret. Andreessen wrote that investors make choices everyday, citing the things that do not get funded but are not moral, ethical, and/or legal. He confirmed that the reason behind this are the public ? opinion ? sensitive LPs.
Andreessen did not mention specific anonymous apps, but some of the most popular ones include Secret, Whisper and Yik Yak. CEOs of Whisper and Secret have responded to Andreessen, saying that the positive aspects of their products outweigh the negative.
Looking at the Positive Side
No prominent investors of Whisper or Secret joined the debate. However, Homebrew?s Hunter Walk argued that moral issues affect investment choices but they should not focus solely on the products? negative aspects. Former community manager of about.me Laura Gluhanich said that Andreessen?s preferred debate platform did nothing when a user issued death threats and posted her home address. Users will also notice a form of antagonization through parody Facebook and Twitter accounts similar to that on the controversial anonymous apps.
On Technology and Morality
No matter how a developer sees the positive aspects outweighing the negative, one important question remains unanswered: can people enforce niceness? There are plenty of follow up questions that must be asked, but everything boils down to the moral obligation of a user. Technology exists to make our lives better, but it can also destroy us.
Whether the investors see anonymous apps as worth investing in or not, many users are still using other medium to express negative thoughts about themselves and/or other people. This debate will definitely go a long way and the result will become evident in the near future.