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HindustanTimes Thu,02 Oct 2014

FeaturedStories

How to stay online and anonymous
Gagandeep Singh Sapra, Hindustan Times
September 02, 2014
First Published: 13:23 IST(2/9/2014)
Last Updated: 13:45 IST(2/9/2014)

Did you ever feel the urge to send a love/hate message to someone, but were afraid that it would come back to haunt you? Especially in this digital age of technology and smartphones, it is tough to keep your identity secret – but as always, there is an app for that. In fact, there are three apps, and free, for the iOs and Android platforms.

Secret [www.secret.ly]
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This is the app that started the trend. It requires your mobile number and a connection to your Facebook account. It does not misuse the information, and uses it only to authenticate you, and to tell you if the secrets being shared are by your friends or by ‘friends-of-friends’. No names are given out, and every time you reply to a secret, you have a brand new icon that only you know. Moreover, the icon changes with each thread. 

Conversations are split into two types15 -- - those by your friends and friends-of-friends, and randomly selected threads, called Explore. Even here, in case you feel something is unacceptable, you can flag the conversation. There is also an option to follow a thread without commenting on it by subscribing to it. Also, if you posted something and don’t want it up online any more, you can also delete the post.

Secrets can range from your secret crush, to how you ate only cheese for dinner last night to your colleague’s secret vice. You can also share conversations on social media — though your identity will stand revealed.

Yik Yak [http://yikyakapp.com]

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The obvious problem with Secret is that it knows your Facebook identity and your phone number. This is where Yik Yak scores: there is no login, there is not even ownership of a thread. It uses the GPS on your phone to figure out your location and shows you recent posts from others in your area.
From funny experiences to news to rumours and real secrets, Yik Yak can help you get the word out. Options available: all-time Greatest Yaks, Top Yaks in your area, and other Top Yaks.
 
Since Yik Yak does not use a login system, you may not have access to your own posts if you use it on another device! But if you want to brag about how you watched a match during a presentation, go ahead. Yak about it.

Compared to Secret users, Yik Yak has a lower following as of now, so you may not find the same level of variety in conversations. But the community is growing.

Whisper [http://whisper.sh/]

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A mixture of storytelling and Secret, the Whisper App too does not require any kind of login. It will show you a board of popular posts, posts that are near you (obtained by using your GPS location) and the latest posts on the network.  

You can choose the area before you make a post, use an image from your library or shoot one. Whisper also lets you comment on your own story and change the title if you want, and lets you choose from various images. Your account is registered with nickname and a personal identification number (PIN), so you can use Whisper on another phone as well.

Whisper has an additional feature over Yik Yak and Secret. It allows private conversations. It also lets you to “love” a conversation, flag it and share it on other social media networks — your identity stands revealed.

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Remember, though: Secrets come at a cost. There is no guarantee they won’t come back to you. My personal board is filled with messages of problems in relationships, problems with venture capitalists, and some secrets even name people. That may be a bad idea. At the end of the day, your IP Address is captured, so the anonymity is limited.


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