The app has become the best-known replacement on the Dartmouth campus for social media platform Librex, which shut down on Feb. 27.
On June 28, Dartmouth became the latest college community to download Fizz, a social media platform that allows users to participate in anonymous discussions. Co-founded by Stanford University sophomores Teddy Solomon and Ashton Cofer, the app is comparable to Librex, another social media platform with anonymous forums, which abruptly stopped February 17.
According to Solomon, he and Cofer took time off from Stanford in December 2021 after raising “seven-figure” seed funding. Solomon said they created Fizz as a place for students to discuss campus happenings, confessions, crushes, and whatever else was going on.
“Fizz’s drive to fill a void in social media and create authentic social media is what will lead us to success no matter how many copycats show up in the space,” Solomon said. “We have the passion and the mission, and we’re going to make sure every student uses Fizz.
At the app’s launch in Dartmouth on June 29, students received donuts in exchange for downloading the app and hats if they promoted it on social media, Solomon said.
Isabella Hochschild ’25 wrote in a statement to The Dartmouth that she believes other anonymous platforms, such as Flok, Sidechat and Pantake – which have come to Dartmouth since Librex ended – have not been as widely adopted. by students as Fizz.
“The first day and a half, [around] two-thirds of people currently on the Dartmouth campus have downloaded the app,” said Fizz Ambassador John Renda ’24.
Other schools participating in Fizz include Arizona State University, Chapman University, Pepperdine University, Rutgers University, and the University of Texas at Austin. Unlike Librex, which allowed messaging between several college communities, students on Fizz cannot interact with students outside their institution.
Solomon said he thinks Fizz has received a warm reception because the app’s anonymity might reduce some users’ social anxiety. Solomon said social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat can have negative impacts on users’ mental health, as users often only show the highlights of their lives, while Fizz aims to uncover everyday thoughts. students and enable more “authentic connections”.
“What’s beautiful about these communities is the intimacy and the fact that you know who’s in the community – it’s everyone around you, everyone you go to school with – you just don’t know who’s who in the community [because it’s anonymous]”Solomon said.
The app’s lead ambassador, Alina Chadwick ’24, likened Fizz’s goal to that of sophomore summer — which is to bring the college community together.
Renda said he thought anonymous platforms were popular with the Class of 2024 due to COVID-19 limitations on gatherings in their first year. It was in this “restricted” environment that some students used Librex to connect with people, Renda explained. Solomon added that COVID-19 restrictions on the Stanford campus sparked Fizz’s idea because of a similar desire to connect with fellow students on campus.
The beta version of Fizz was tested in 2021 by nine people living in the same house. Later, another version of the app was tested at Cornell University before being shut down to incorporate community feedback. Finally, the app was released for Stanford students, where 7,000 users joined.
According to Solomon, moderators are interviewed with an emphasis on objectivity based on Fizz community guidelines. Solomon also said users who engage in doxxing — the unwanted identification of users by their initials or class year — will be removed from the platform. Renda explained that features like pseudonyms also make it easier for users to track their posts, whereas students were completely anonymous on Librex.
TJ Parekh ’24 said he likes how the app appears to regulate hate speech, as he believes it is a “good and important” initiative. However, he said the app was not effective in preventing doxxing.
“It feels less anonymous,” he said. “I know particular names were mentioned on the application.”
Parekh added that the app looks more “artificial” than Librex because he thinks “bots” are increasing upvotes on threads to make the app look like it has more users than it does. in a.
“On Librex, it would be [have been] crazy if someone had 50 upvotes,” Parekh said. “With this app, [almost] each post has 400 votes which almost ruins the effect of engaging with the app.
John Renda ’24 is a member of Dartmouth’s artistic staff.
Appendix correction (July 8, 1:20 p.m.): A previous version of this article misspelled the surnames of Teddy Solomon and Ashton Cofer. The article has been updated.