PostSecret app for iOS removed due to user abuse

Tue, Jan 17, 2012


Postsecret is one of those websites worth checking in on regularly. In case you haven’t yet had the pleasure of perusing the site, Postsecret provides an avenue for people to anonymously express their inner most secrets and thoughts to the world via postcards that they send in via snail mail, which are subsequently scanned and placed on the site.

The submissions cover a vast array of topics and embody a range of motifs; poignant, funny, sad, shocking, heartwarming, inspiring, and sometimes even jarring. The site became an instant hit and it wasn’t long before books were made along with Postsecret meetups.

In short, Postsecret is waay cool.

Recently, Postsecret came out with an immensely popular iOS app which enabled users to submit secrets from their iOS device anonymously. But unfortunately, the abyss of anonymous Internet users is often comprised of people who like to make obscene and violent comments for no other reason than to cause needless problems and strife for everyone else.

Such was the case with the Postsecret app which has since been pulled due to customer abuse.

Postsecret creator Frank Warren explained in a blog post two weeks ago:

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.

Bad content caused users to complain to me, Apple and the FBI. I was contacted by law enforcement about bad content on the App. Threats were made against users, moderators and my family. (Two specific threats were made that I am unable to talk about). As much as we tried, we were unable to maintain a bully-free environment. Weeks ago I had to remove the App from my daughter’s phone.

Like many of you, I feel a great sense of loss from this decision but please know that we fought hard behind the scenes to find a permanent solution. We even tried prescreening 30,000 secrets a day. Deciding to remove the App from the App Store last week and holding back the release of the Android version cost us money but we feel it was the right thing to do.

To illustrate the sheer volume of submissions PostSecret editors had to contend with, Warren said that over 2 million secrets had been submitted since the app first showed up on iTunes. So while prescreening submissions seems like a great compromise to me, perhaps the massive amount of submitted secrets was simply too much to handle. But still, even the idea that submissions are subject to pre-screening might theoretically be enough to preclude jackasses from submitting objectionable content.

In any event, hopefully the app will be back in the iTunes App Store at some point in a varied incarnation.

via PostSecret



Comments are closed.

eXTReMe Tracker