Recently, Facebook acquired TBH — the viral app that lets people send anonymous message to others. It has been reported that teens aren’t using Facebook like they used to do before, and this helps why Facebook acquired TBH.
Facebook always wants to find applications that create new and unique interactions between users. It is believed that even a smallest feature can make difference in millions of users.
TBH has already scored more than 5 million downloads with more than 2 million active users in the past 9 weeks. Since its launch, TBH has racked more than 1 billion poll answers, which are mostly from teens and high school students.
TBH has been in the number 1 position on App Store for more than 3 weeks and is available across US. It is currently available for iOS devices only and will continue to exist as a stand-alone app.
What is TBH app?
TBH is one of the popular free apps on Apple App Store that lets people send anonymous messages to others. TBH, the short form of ‘To Be Honest’ is the only anonymous app with positive vibes. It is designed for users above 13 and allows users to select their school and grade level while signing.You can sign in with the first and last name, select gender, school and grade.
This app was first launched in Georgia in August 2017, and more than 40% of students downloaded the app on the first day. The app was next extended to 3 more schools the next day and almost all the iPhone users in those schools downloaded this app. Since then, the app was released in 9 states and is currently working towards a statewide release.
The best thing about TBH is that it allows users to say positive things about other user. It is not a cesspit of gossips and this limitation made the app popular among teens. The app will have questions such as – ‘Always nice to talk to’, ‘Your chances of winning the competition’ etc with four options. When you are picked, you are anonymous and you have no idea of who picked you.
TBH is moderated to avoid harassment and you will hesitate to call the app ‘woke’. The superlatives submitted by users are inspected by the TBH team. If anybody complains about a question, it is removed immediately. The app offers a non-binary option for users who don’t want to reveal their gender.
TBH allow teens to screenshot the superlatives they receive and make them visible to their friends on TBH in news feed. Users can even upload the screenshots to their Instagram or Snapchat stories. Users of TBH app have no way to communicate with each other, which means they can’t discuss who received what TBH.The option definitely helps with no-bullying thing.
Despite of having millions of active users, TBH need some new features to maintain its status and position.
Why Facebook bought TBH?
The rise of TBH is somewhat mirrored like Sarahah, an anonymous messaging app that was all rage with teens. Both these social apps allow users to send anonymous messages.
It is reported that Facebook is losing its teen users and seem to be less engaged and spending less time. The acquisition of TBH signals that Facebook is exploring new ways to regain young user base.
Recently, Facebook rival app Snap announced a feature called Context Cards – which is a visual search tool for Snapchat. Facebook is looking to appeal more to young people as Snap continues to grow.
For Facebook, acquiring TBH is the best way to attract young users. There is no doubt that Facebook regularly copies the features of rival social apps, especially the ones that are popular with teens. According to sources, Facebook is inspired by the way TBH is attracting teens and Facebook’s resources can be used by TBH to expand and build positive experiences.
When Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, it already had 30 million users. Today, Instagram has more than 600 million users and turned into a multi-billion dollar business. On the contrary, TBH is at a very different stage than Instagram when it was acquired. It has only 5 employees and it was downloaded more than 5 million times in last few months.
The importance of these two acquisitions cannot be overstated, as Facebook was always in a secured position in its dominance of social relationships. It is reported that TBH tried and failed with a bunch of products — and it is looking for a buyer to invest to help it sustain its success.From this, we can say that Facebook bought a ‘Test’, instead of the ‘Next big thing’.
TBH will continue to operate as its own standalone app as before. The only thing is that the core group will not get the kind of autonomy like Instagram and WhatsApp. The co-creators of TBH – Nikita Bier, Erik Hazzard, Nicholas Ducdodon and Kyle Zaragoza will become Facebook employees and will continue to work on TBH.Facebook is likely to use the data and learnings from TBH to inform other products.
No doubt, Facebook found the best way to ‘Test’ something newand reach teens. Facebook’s former acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp to connect with young users were highly successful. TBH’s insistence on positivity may also play into Facebook’s mission to build a sense of community.
Perhaps, TBH is another channel using which Facebook can command attention of young people.