March 17, 2014 at 5:21 PM ET
Secret, the iOS app that allows users to share "anonymish" messages either publicly or within various degrees of friends, is a hotbed of Silicon Valley smack talk and rumors. Now the app, which just received $8.6 million in funding, is trying to rein things in with a virtual hand slap for users who get too personal.
As part of a recent software update, Secret issues a warning to users who include names in their posts, TechCrunch reports. If the Secret software detects something a little too juicy, users receive a prompt that reads, "Posts that are defamatory, offensive or mean-spirited are against community guidelines and can be flagged/removed." What's more, Secret co-founder David Byttow confirmed to TechCrunch, "this is just the first step."
To the uninitiated, Secret isn't your parents' PostSecret, the long-running community mail art project and (now defunct) app featuring mostly personal confessions that are alternately sweet, reflective and sometimes disturbing. In fact, it has nothing to do with PostSecret at all.
This new app was first launched exclusively within Silicon Alley in February before it was released to the public, and things got ugly, fast. People alleging to work at or with specific Silicon Alley companies regularly post what they claim to be inside info, slamming both companies and people by name. What's at risk here goes beyond community guidelines and beliefs about being nice.
Too many rumors too widely spread can mess up a company's funding and possible IPO, and not too many venture capitalists are going to want to fund a tech company that does that. And what with Secret being one of the most-talked about app right now, an IPO is definitely on the minds of its founders.