Facebook acquired the anonymous app tbh, which is popular among teenagers.
On Monday, tbh announced the deal and a Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the startup’s co-founders will continue running it somewhat independently (as the case with Instagram and Whatsapp).
Tbh is basically a polling app that lets people anonymously answer different friendly multiple choice questions about their friends, who then receive the poll results as compliments.
This positivity focused polling app was a social media hit of the summer. The app had scored 5 million downloads and 2.5 million daily users in past 9 weeks. The app made its way to the top of the download charts among free apps on iOS.
The polls that appear on the app are simple and complimentary. The app is principled on kindness and positivity, unlike other social media apps.
“If we’re improving the mental health of millions of teens, that’s a success to us”, said co-creator Nikita Bier.
The financial details of the deal were not disclosed however some reports claim that the acquisition was under $100 million.
The four creators Nikita Bier, Erik Hazzard, Kyle Zaragoza and Nicolas Ducododon will soon join Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters and would continue running their app using Facebook’s resources.
“When we met with Facebook, we realized that we shared many of the same core values about connecting people through positive interactions. Most of all, we were compelled by the ways they could help us realize our vision and bring it to more people”, wrote the tbh team.
Facebook shared the same views and wrote, “tbh and Facebook share a common goal – of building community and enabling people to share in ways that bring us closer together. We’re impressed by the way tbh is doing this by using polling and messaging, and with Facebook’s resources tbh can continue to expand and build positive experiences”
The TBH team had struggled very hard since its time of inception and finally created an app fine enough to be acquired by one of the biggest social media giants.
Bier originally started tbh parent company ‘Midnight Labs’ in 2010. But unfortunately due to lack of funds, couldn’t manage it well. The idea of creating TBH came from the popular tbh (to be honest) social media trend, where teenagers asked their friends for honest feedback. The team also wanted to build something based on positivity, a quality lacked by other anonymous apps like Secret and Yik Yak. Thus, TBH was born.
After building the app, the biggest problem that quickly emerged was how to keep users engaged with it. TBH came with only a few questions to answer at a time, however, the customers wanted something more, something exciting.
This week the app released its first big feature, ‘DM (direct messaging)’. This feature enables you to message someone who chose you as an answer, and they have the option of revealing their identity.
Unfortunately, keeping the servers online, writing new questions and building new features was a big task for such a small team.
How would this acquisition beneficial for TBH team?
Joining with Facebook solved this problem and offered numerous other advantages too:
- TBH can now spend more and more money (Facebook’s money) on upgrading and be regulating itself.
- Due to lack of engineers and abundance of users ( 2.5 million users daily), the app used to crash, but now Facebook offers its enormous and well-experienced engineering team to handle the situation.
- TBH can now easily get rid of spam with the help of Facebook’s well-developed anti-spam technology.
- The app that had access only to some of the US states, now with Facebook’s collaboration can expand itself nationally and internationally.
- Joining hands with a big team can help TBH to come up with more creative ideas, do better reviewing and maintaining.
These resources have also helped Instagram and Whatsapp to grow fascinatingly. Instagram increased its size 10X to over 800 million users since Facebook bought it in 2012. Similarly, Whatsapp has grown from 450 million users to 1.3 billion users under Facebook’s label since 2014.
Facebook acquired TBH way before the app could grow as much as Instagram or Whatsapp because it wanted to get more and more users and simply couldn’t see its Rival Snapchat buy it.
TBH investor Josh Elman says, “Nikita and his team having figured out a lot about how teens are using products. This is one of the few that’s gotten this kind of adoption, and that should be celebrated. Hopefully, this shows that there’s still room to get lots of people adopting new mobile experiences”.
TBH will remain free to download on iOS and Android, with the same brand.