Facebook Buys tbh, But Is the Anonymous App the Future of Social Media?

To be honest, we don't know.

by Hannah Margaret Allen
Flickr / sc.lover

Messaging apps of the anonymous sort have thrown teens into a tizzy this year, but only one of them has managed to get itself a space at the Facebook office. We’re not talking about Sarahah, the app that was initially created to give constructive feedback in the workplace and was taken over by youths sharing on their Snapchats. Despite spreading like wildfire in July, by mid-August, cyberbullying and hate devoured Sarahah, knocking it off the top charts in the App Store. We’re talking about tbh, the latest contender that strode in on August 3 and was purchased by Facebook on Monday for an undisclosed amount.

So What Exactly Is tbh?

Tbh is an anonymous feedback app in which users send “fun, uplifting polls” to their friends. These are pre-created polls, but users can submit their own and “if it’s funny or interesting, you’ll see it on the app in 48 hours.” If the answer is from a girl, you’ll receive a pink gem; if a boy, it’ll be blue.

This is how tbh works.


In the short amount of time since its release, the platform has garnered 2.5 million daily users and had 1 billion polls answered.

Why Did Facebook Acquire This Particular App?

The main differentiating factor of tbh from the other anonymous messaging platforms is the focus on positivity: “When we set out to build tbh, we wanted to create a community that made us feel happier and more confident about ourselves. We felt that people craved genuine and positive interactions in their online experiences.”

This shared vision with Facebook is what, ultimately, resulted in the acquisition of tbh, which is a part of Midnight Labs, a parent company started in 2010.

That sounds well and good, but it’s unclear if this is a defensive play, one that prevents Snapchat from purchasing the uplifting app, rather than a discovery of an up-and-coming app à la Instagram or Whatsapp, which Facebook acquired in 2012 and 2014, respectively. It could, in fact, be an offensive play to stay ahead of the curve of social media, or as the co-founder of tbh, Nikita Bier, tweeted: “The next big social app won’t look like a social app.”

Nonetheless, the resounding positivity of the app makes it stand out in the midst of internet negativity, and in a matter of time, we’ll see if it will stand up in the face of rapid internet turnover.