1. What is TBH?
It’s an app for answering questions about your friends. You’re given a (mostly) positive question, such as, "the person I relate to most," and then it lists four of your friends who are also on the app. You have to choose which one of them the question applies to most. When one of your friends chooses you as a response to a question, you get notified that a boy or girl (there’s a non binary option, too) chose you as the answer. You don’t see the name of who chose you.
Then you can see which ones your friends (anonymously) chose you for.
2. Can it be used for bullying?
Not really. The questions are all pretty positive ("always has the best manicure") or flirty ("Relationship goals?") — and the ones that are slightly negative are barely so, like, "might run off to join the circus." Unlike Sarahah or YikYak, which let you write anything anonymously, you can only answer questions the app asks.
That said, I’ve been a teen, and devious teen minds’ ability to invent mean things to do to each other should not be underestimated.
3. So this is for the teens?
4. Then why would I, an adult sign up?
Idk, look, it’s just fun. You get to be goofy with your friends, ok?
5. This sounds dumb, why do people like it?
It feels nice to have people say nice things about you! What more obvious and pure human emotion is there? It's currently the #1 free app in the iTunes store! People love it!
6. Who makes it?
A small company called Midnight Labs in Oakland, CA. According to the company representative I spoke with (who requested to remain anonymous because the company is a sort of egalitarian collective without any one person as its face or name), Midnight Labs had spent five years making social apps that were mostly failures, and they were almost out of money. Then this summer, they had a moment of clarity – they wanted to make something that would make people feel good.
7. How did this spread so fast?
It launched at a single high school in Georgia (TBH doesn’t require you to be in school, but they knew it would work best for teens), and after three days, students at 3,000 schools across Georgia and beyond were using TBH.
There’s a built-in incentive for a user to share the app, too. If you answer a certain number of questions in a row, you get timed out (like Candy Crush). If you want to keep going, you can wait an hour or invite more friends.
8. Why does it say it’s only in a few states?
The company says TBH will roll out to more states soon, but they don’t have an exact timeline. Apparently because it blew up so fast (2 million users signed up in the last six weeks), they just don’t have enough server bandwidth and tech support to expand any faster right now.
However, try your luck — I was able to sneak through in NY even though it said NY wasn’t available. Basically, it’s geofenced, but not that effectively.
9. Is it on Android?
Not yet, and they don’t know when it will be.
Katie Notopoulos is a senior editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Notopoulos writes about tech and internet culture is cohost of the Internet Explorer podcast.
Contact Katie Notopoulos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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