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Those #Anonymous Confessions of Yours Might Not be so Anonymous - #Whisper




From flight attendants to teachers to the military, everyone is using Whisper to admit their confessions. Some opinions seems to mirror what we are all thinking in everyday situations, some give a unique insight into the thoughts of professionals, and some even provide arguments to taboo subjects that may be too delicate normally to share publicly. As an example, recent article from the Daily Mail highlighted the use of the app by women who share their experiences of 'guilt free abortion'.

Whilst the platform had previously been thought to provide a free space for the unadulterated opinions of incognito users, it has now been claimed that Whisper has been tracking their locations. Invalidating their claims as 'the safest place on the Internet', the app has been monitoring the whereabouts of users, even when they have opted out of geolocation services. The news is likely to worry many a member who has shared secrets about both their professional and private lives - particularly those working in public sector jobs.

The site/app, which already has millions of users and and sees as many as 2.3 million posts every day, allows for anonymous publishing in the form of short comments superimposed over images that some may not feeling comfortable sharing on other social media sites. However, as reveal by The Guardian, the company has developed an in-house mapping tool that staff can use to filter and search GPS data. This means that they can pinpoint that location from where a message was sent with accuracy of up to 500m, and also track a user's movements over time.




Since these revelations have come to light, Whisper has amended its terms of service. They have now included details of their privacy policy that including their sharing of information with the US Department of Defence and the FBI. They also have detailed how data stored, such as messages and user details, is monitored in countries outside of the US. The site has also warned users against publishing personal information as it may compromise their anonymity, which seems to undermines the concept completely. "Even if you do not include personal information in your whispers, your use of the Services may still allow others, over time, to make a determination as to your identity based on the content of your whispers as well as your general location,” the new privacy policy states.

If the lure of anonymity is what attracts users to this site, then Whisper may be set to lose some of its fans. The site strengthens itself on the opinions of those in socially-sensitive careers, with opinions on topics such as faith and war, who are unlikely to want to jeopardise their professional lives for an explicit remark or two on social media. For an app that thrives on the honest and frank confessions of users, perhaps they should have been more truthful with their policies to avoid bad publicity.



SMF rookie, fresh out of academia, looking forward to more creative ventures. With a love of current affairs, green tea and an ever insatiable wanderlust, Katie is ready to have her voice heard. Follow her @KatieAtSMF


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Those #Anonymous Confessions of Yours Might Not be so Anonymous - #Whisper Reviewed by Katie Gascoyne on Saturday, October 24, 2015 Rating: 5

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