The rise of reviews: why Facebook bought an app that encourages honesty

By October 31, 2017

Keeping up with popular trends of today’s youth can be tough and at times disappointing considering what they often entail.

However, a recent app that has exploded in popularity across the US might restore your faith in young people and technology.

TBH, a popular acronym for “To Be Honest”, is an app that has received an incredible amount of popularity over the past few months, holding the No. 1 free download spot on iTunes back in September. Despite dropping down the chart, it still stands above traditional, well-known apps like Tinder and Yelp.

The app allows users to anonymously answer kind-hearted multiple-choice questions about friends who then receive the results as compliments. Back in August the app was launched in a select few states, one of which was Indiana, but has since been released in many more states including Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Since its launch, the app has racked-up an impressive 1 billion poll answers and has attracted the attention of social media giant Facebook, which bought the app in mid-October. The app’s success is largely due to the positive impact it has had on young people.

During an interview with co-creator Nikita Bier, he explained to TechCrunch how the team came up with the design, stating, “We worked backwards from the content we wanted to see, which was nice comments about ourselves — a product you’d open and it’d tell you all your strengths and things you’re good at and make you happier and more productive.”

Review and rating apps

The popularity of this app is not dissimilar to other review and rating apps which have experienced an impressive level of popularity this year, such as Sarahah, an app which encourages honest and anonymous feedback among coworkers and friends, received huge success, especially in Middle Eastern countries such as Suadi Arabia.

As ratings and reviews become more popular we are seeing more apps incorporating this feature into the heart of their design. Even in dating, apps like M8 strive to set couples up using matchmakes to recommend friends for dates.

Maria Andrea Gonzalez

Maria Andrea Gonzalez

Additionally, other apps have taken a much wider approach such as Tribo, which allows you to capture and rate day-to-day consumption experiences. The idea of this app is to collect a catalog of reactions consisting of the good and the bad, the beautiful and the painful.

On this platform, anything can be reviewed whether it be the latest hit movie or even a hat you really like. The ultimate goal for the app is to offer reviews that people can trust. “Tribo is an app to collect reviews you can trust, to learn from the consumption experiences of your peers. An app to reduce the chances of screwing up,” said Maria Andrea Gonzalez, Tribo’s founder and CEO.

The internet can sometimes be a nasty place, but with the right attitude and an encouraging system, it can sometimes bring out the best in people, creating an environment of safe and fair honesty among users.