MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- A 2013 graduate of Rye Neck High School has launched an app that creates anonymous social networks similar to -- but more advanced than -- the already popular Yik Yak app.
Josh Barach, 20, of Mamaroneck, said his new creation, called Smoak, has gone viral at Rye Neck and is being tested out by thousands of new users on several college campuses.
Barach said he is “happy with the amount of people that have signed up so far" and that each user’s experience improves once they invite their friends to join.
Barach said he recently took a leave of absence from the University of Southern California to focus on his start-up with several co-founders from the Massachusetts Institute Technology.
Smoak is a live feed of anonymous -- and not anonymous -- texts, photos, and videos being spread by friends and others nearby.
"Smoak unshackles the messengers by allowing them to post, share and comment, without attaching their names to their message,'' Barach said. "From innocent people posting and sharing photos of injustice while living under oppressive regimes to college students who want to share a minority opinion, our world is now a better and more transparent place.”
Barach said the app has a content moderation system in place.
"Any posts containing genitals are removed immediately once reported and if a user makes a violent threat such as a bomb scare, we will report the name of the user and the user's location immediately to authorities,'' Barach said. "The only case in which we will sacrifice a user's privacy is if a user posts a violent threat."
Smoak has a beautiful design, Barach boasted. "Yik Yak does not."
"Our unique cascading effect, created by combining local and friend content and allowing for sharing with friends and nearbys, both anonymously and not anonymously, is critical,'' Barach said.
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