Founder Jonathan Lucas of Blushhh LLC actually calls his anonymous posting app Burnbook, styled after the Mean Girls tactic of writing gossip and anonymous nasty comments about classmates in a physical book that can be passed around.
An article in Oregon Live reveals Lucas to be a 23-year-old developer who tried to put preventative measures in place after the app was released.
It's a free app, so kids can download it to their phones, search for school "communities" within 10 miles, and share text, photos, and audio with other community members. The terms of service stipulate the user needs to be 18 but it's unenforceable and kids routinely ignore this.
The app now has been downloaded 400,000 times.
Already, predictably across the country, schools are finding out just how sinister this app is in the hands of students who are (surprise, surprise) out to humiliate and degrade the reputations of others. In San Diego and Oregon, it's been used to send threats. In Torrance California, another school experienced threats and cyberbullying and demanded that Lucas remove their school from his app (thereby cutting off students' access). In an article by The Daily Breeze he refused their request, citing his first amendment rights and was quoted: “The app isn’t the problem It’s the people who abuse it. The truth is the app isn’t posting anything.”
In San Diego, a petition has actually been started on Change.org to give schools an opt-out option on the app and is just shy of its 500 needed signatures. another Change.org petition, which has nearly 1,242 signatures demands to eliminate the app altogether.
So parents, it's time to get proactive about this one. Check your kid's phone for this app and make it off limits. Then, let your kids' school know about this app and petition to have your school removed from its Geo Locator.