Anonymous online communication has gone mainstream and, as Alyssa Bereznak reports in an entry on Yahoo Tech, the result is a new genre of oversharing social apps, including Whisper and Secret. Now Rumr is the latest member of this growing club of possible e-discovery targets in litigation.
Just released, Bereznak says the free app runs on Google Inc.’s Android (Play Store) and Apple Inc.’s iOS (App Store), allowing friends to meet in a mobile chatroom and partake in a conversation in which everyone knows who’s in the chatroom, but nobody has to take responsibility for what he or she is saying.
Thus, the more friends who join, the more anonymous it becomes. She says participants are identified by colors, but every time someone new joins, everyone gets a new color.
Rumr’s anonymity is designed to enable people to speak freely. While the tool can be used for positive things, such as amicable airing of grievances among friends, Bereznak says it’s easy to imagine negative behaviors like a stream of insults or even sexual harassment with the possibility of someone accidentally “outing” himself or herself based on how the person types or what is said.
“Ultimately, it’s a shaky balance between pure anonymity and intensely personal conversation,” she says.
While Bereznak expects Rumr to be used by teens and doesn’t broach any legal subjects, attorneys might well imagine criminal behavior being revealed. If that person were “outted,” would it be another case where, like posts depicting illegal acts, discussions lead to arrests?
Sherry Karabin is a freelance writer and reporter based in New York City. Email: email@example.com.