After being pulled TWICE from the Apple Store amid accusations of violence and bullying, After School (an anonymous social network for teens) is back in the app store with promises to better control bullying.
It seems to me that intersection of “anonymous”, “social network”, and “teenagers” is a recipe for disaster, but After School has added a variety of layers of moderation, both algorithmic and human, and promises to keep a better eye on threats of violence and bullying. According to Re/Code, COO Corey Levy said, “Each and every post submitted to the app now has to be approved by a human moderator before anyone else can see it.”
According to their website, After School has developed a tool (known as an API) that will scan messages for violent intent, and automatically alert local authorities of the threat. For example, if a teen posts a threat about bringing a gun to school, the kid may have police waiting for him when he arrives at school. After School is making this tool, called First, available to outside programmers to use in other software applications.
It will be interesting to see how well After School can keep up with the human moderation, and to watch First evolve as a tool keep social networks safer for everyone.
After School is not yet available for Android, just iOS.