In a 12-part Twitter treatise late last night, high-profile venture capitalist Marc Andreessen attacked tech that enables “voyeurism,” which might start as “naughty fun” but ends with “broken hearts” and “ruined lives.”

Though Andreessen, the co-founder of influential VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, didn’t name any companies (and asked people not to guess), he also said it’s an important topic to discuss.

But he is obviously targeting anonymous sharing apps such as Whisper and Secret, which is only 46 days old but yesterday said it had received $8.6 million in funding. And Whisper has raised $30 million at a $200 million valuation recently.

In his latest tweeting marathon — he’s done a lot of this kind of thing since the beginning of the year — Andreessen implied that these social apps are tapping into deep-seated human nature, but that they’re morally reprehensible and shouldn’t be built. The engineers, he noted, are responsible for stepping up to the moral plate.

Andreessen continued today:

One Secret user responded in the mobile app’s standard tone of, well, you know:

Secret users responded to Andreessen.




8 comments
Elliot Smith
Elliot Smith

I think many people are missing the true value of anonymous communication channels. Since Web 2.0 came into play most of the interaction between people and the net are not private. So most internet services collect significant amounts of user data and aggregate them in large databases. The problem is that the information feeds being transmitted to people today leverage their private information, past searches, network connection, Etc to influence perception, behavior and interaction in a way that was not previously possible. For those of us that can extrapolate the evolution of this human+net symbiotic relationship into the future it is clear that the net will have a significant advantage in influencing society as we become more reliant on information feeds to guide us through every aspect of our lives. The ability to interface with the net using anonymous communication channels is in my mind an imperative buffer to bring balance back into the equation. If this balance is not achieved our ability to maintain democracy, diversity of views, moderate viewpoints and free thought will be impacted negatively.


delwilliams
delwilliams

He makes a valid point. Sometimes these apps give a false sense of security. Plus, it's not that hard these days to figure out who is telling the secrets. The question is, if people are bold enough to disparage people and companies on these apps in "secret" are they willing to stand up for those views when confronted with them? I doubt it. 

If these were whistleblowing apps, at least it would have a purpose, but from what I can tell, it's just destructive gossip with little accountability. 

A.J. Weinzettel
A.J. Weinzettel

The whole trend of Secret and Whisper being more and more popular is really interesting.  There are many reasons this trend can lead to a decline of humanity like Marc is mentioning.  Very true.  There is another side of the coin as well. People can feel they are truly human and express their true feelings and concern with no recourse from their friends or followers. A majority of the content on Whisper is crap!!! A majority of the content on Secret has been more tech related thus far. People need to be human and these two Apps really allow people to be human with no recourse. In this connected world, we NEED an outlet to be human. There is good and bad in being human. Is there a way to just find the good? It would really be nice to just find the good, but that is impossible.

tmgotech
tmgotech

Let me guess - AH has an equity investment in SnapChat, right?  Not sure why he would separate this from the other companies he's targeted with his worthy posts.

JMWJMW
JMWJMW

Basic problem: too many of today's apps/systems are written by 20-somethings to "solve" "problems" they had at about age 13.  Never mind: foosball and beer pong for everyone! 

MobilePhonesFan
MobilePhonesFan

...all of which reminds us -- yet again -- that Twitter is a pathetic medium for communicating anything that rises above the social value of banal selfies, snarky one-liners and click-bait headlines.

.

bobsulli
bobsulli

Not too long ago, my brother sent me a link to a TheVerge.com article about ethics of robots on the battlefield. Sadly, we're further along in robotics for killing people than we are with robotics for helping people.

What does that say about our society?There's so much money in robotics for killing people that they're reaching or passing ethical junctions.

When will they be ready for discussions about ethical decisions for robots that help people with degenerative diseases, brain injuries, etc.?


In the civilian world, robots start replacing unskilled labor, but the skill ladder will be climbed more rapidly than most think. How high on the skill ladder before the moral/ethical discussions start there? Or should they be starting already? 

Other than discussing changes due to rural vs. urban life, there didn't seem to be much discussions about moral/ethical issues during the industrial revolution because mechanization was creating jobs in new markets (e.g., finished goods) as it was eliminating jobs in existing markets (e.g., agriculture). 



George III
George III

As a non-engineer who has had to 'clean up after' geeky engineers I've come to understand that it's all about writing code. "broken hearts and ruined lives" has nothing to do with writing code. There is no difference between code to kick a stone and code to kick a human.


To those who worry that technology will one day destroy us, I say it's a sure thing and it will be "naughty fun" too. 

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