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What do you really think? Anonymous apps allow for secret messaging

Bill Whitaker reports on how they allow customers to hide their identity and keep their secrets
Apps that keep your anonymity and privacy on the rise 04:09

Like most 14-year-olds, Daniel Singer spends a lot of time online with friends, but he's not exactly a typical teen. He developed his first social media app at 12 and has just launched his second, called Backchat.

With this app, the sender's identity is a secret, giving cover from prying parents who long ago caught on to Facebook.

Dating apps that are flying under the radar 01:43
 Singer told CBS News’ Bill Whitaker that inquisitive parents and family are the reason teens leave social media sites.


New apps Secret and Wickr have also done away with usernames and profiles. Recognizing the trend, Facebook tried to snap up Snapchat, which keeps photos online for just 10 seconds, sharing moments but not forever.

Singer explained to Whitaker why anonymity is so important for people in his age group.

“I'll use Facebook as an example,” he said. “When you go to post a picture or a status update, there's a lot of pressure on what you're talking about, so personal expression and, you know, who you are really are is lost.” 

Few understand the trend like Michael Heyward. His app, Whisper, gets an astounding three billion page views a month, deriving some of its popularity by being a Facebook alternative.

“If my whole basis for all of my friends is what they want me to see, I'm gonna think you're always at a party, you're always on vacation, you're always having fun,” he said. “I think that can sometimes make you feel isolated.”

Heyward told Whitaker that Whisper is a place where people can take the mask off.

“I think this idea of removing personal identity is something that is incredibly powerful,” he said.

Facebook is unrivaled in its reach with 1.2 billion users, but in a Pew Research Center survey released this week, 36 percent of them strongly dislike people "sharing too much information" and 27 percent strongly dislike "other people seeing comments you didn't mean for them to see."

Investors have poured $24 million into Whisper, and Singer is in talks with some of Silicon Valley's biggest companies. While both may be anonymous now, you'll likely be hearing a lot more from them.

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