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New Secret update will prevent you from naming names

Secret doesn't want you to throw your boss under the bus.


Taylor Hatmaker


Posted on Aug 22, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 5:38 pm CDT

On the heels of the news that its quasi-anonymous network is vulnerable to a dead-simple hack, Secret is switching a few things up, ostensibly to make the secrets shared on its service less life-rending for anyone in its users’ crosshairs.

Among the changes, Secret will add polls which users can respond to with a yes or a no as well as using Flickr as a database for the background images that appear behind user posts. Oddly, you will no longer be able to add photos from your library, but you can take a real-time photo and post it with your secret in the moment.

The most radical change affects Secret’s real name policy, which will now not only detect the use of “private names” in shared secrets, but will actively block them. It’s a pretty strong stance against some of the darker corners of the platform, in which users anonymously rip individuals (former bosses, prominent tech writers, industry execs) to shreds, with no accountability whatsoever. The other side of the coin is that Secret becomes a less powerful platform for accountability, like sexual harassment in the workplace or unfair hiring policies, which is really what Secret shines at.

From Secret’s Medium post on the changes:

We’ve learned that the vast majority of great secrets don’t have names in them, and the few that do usually aren’t productive and can even be harmful. We’ve changed our position on the use of real names and, in addition to discouraging their use, we’re actively blocking posts containing names of private individuals whenever possible.

The changes will begin rolling out to the Android app today and the iOS app over the course of next week.

Illustration by Fernando Alfonso III

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*First Published: Aug 22, 2014, 5:05 pm CDT