Secret, the anonymous application that lets users post random comments and share them with friends, is finally doing something about bullying.
Secret now uses sentiment analysis to determine if someone is posting something against the app’s guidelines—like a harassing comment—and will prompt users to rethink their posts if so. If someone posts it anyway, the Secret team will review the post, and block it if they find it in violation of its policies. Real names will also be blocked from the site whenever possible.
The changes were announced in a blog post on Friday.
It’s a much-needed update to the app that’s become one of Silicon Valley’s most popular Burn Books. Rumors that start on Secret have spilled out into online conversation, including a bunch of actual news about the tech industry.
Of course, many rumors are false. Earlier this year, prominent developer Julie Ann Horvath was the subject of gossip on the mobile application, and in response, she publicly told the real story behind her departure from GitHub, which included accusing company leadership of harassment.
Gossip transcends Silicon Valley—though it’s certainly polarizing in the Bay Area, Secret’s home. On Thursday, Secret was pulled from the App Store in Brazil because under Brazilian law, anonymous free expression is forbidden.
Creating A More Positive Environment
Secret has tried to solve it’s bullying problem before. But as Fortune writer Dan Primack discovered, the app’s flagging system and algorithm that detects certain keywords was not enough.
Now, though, by enabling more extensive anti-bullying measures, Secret can create a safer space and cut down on the anonymous mudslinging.
I’ve found that Secret can be a positive place, when you start to weed out all the poison. I often see inspiring and sometimes heartbreaking stories that, for whatever reason, people don’t feel like they can post them anywhere else.
Adding Photos And Polls
Along with the anti-harassment updates, Secret prevents people from uploading photos from their own photo libraries.
People can now search for and add photos from Flickr to use as the image behind their secret, similar to another anonymous app, Whisper. However, the app still lets users take photos in real-time, so it won’t necessarily prevent people from accidentally (or purposely) shrugging the anonymity.
The app also added a polling feature that lets users ask their friends questions, and see responses in real-time.
Images courtesy of Secret.