Recently launched website Social Number provides social media users the ability to network anonymously by identifying themselves through a system generated number instead of their name. For example, a user would be given the id 0039601762 upon registration and have the ability to network with other numerically defined users through attributes such as their gender, age, location and interests. The Social Number platform gives users given carte blanche authority to recreate their real life profiles in whatever way they wish and the power to construct an anonymous, online persona that they can use to network and make status updates about topics of their choosing.
Use cases for the anonymous social media website include the following:
•Users who wish to make anonymous comments about celebrities, companies, governments and people
•Users who wish to network via a social identity that differs significantly from attributes of their identity that they have in person
•Users who wish to anonymously explore interests, activities and hobbies by networking with other people with the same interests
•Groups and organizations who wish to anonymously campaign for specific causes
The site represents an important moment for online free speech insofar as the web now has another prominent location where ideas about any topic can be freely exchanged without fears of recrimination. For example, activist groups and whistleblowers who might otherwise fear for their careers and well-being if they were to disclose personal information now have a platform from which to make sensitive disclosures online. Similarly, users with stigma-related health issues such as HIV or depression can now leverage Social Number to effectively network with users with similar conditions and concerns.
Social Number’s CEO M.K. remarked on the innovation of the anonymous social media platform as follows:
We are incredibly thrilled to be tackling and empowering our users to have a free voice, discussing issues that some might deem ‘untouchable’ in public forums. Hot button topics like politics and religion to discussing your boss to substance abuse are some of threads users are gravitating towards. But I believe there are many other topics that people want to discuss openly without the fear of repercussions. It’s about freedom of speech. Today, there is very little privacy on any social network, resulting in employees being fired and government interrogations for free thinking. On Social Number, your number is your only identity, showcasing the true value of anonymity.
High profile users of the site include a group associated with the hacktivist collective Anonymous that features the Anonymous group’s logo and slogan as follows: