The Brief: Lipsi is an anonymous feedback app that allows users to send anonymous messages to friends or strangers.
What Is Lipsi?
Lipsi allows users to create profiles which they can share with others by sending them a link. It is common to see links to Lipsi accounts in Instagram bios. Anyone with a link to someone’s profile can then send them anonymous messages. People have the option to “reveal their identities” to the person they have been anonymously messaging at any point. Users can also delete conversations and comments.
The app dubs itself as “a community for the young & bold” that “aims to employ anonymity as a tool to empower, support and encourage our peers.”
Lipsi is free to use, with the option of purchasing subscriptions for virtual sticker expansion packs.
Another Anonymous Messaging App…
Lipsi seems to be the latest popular app in a cycle of anonymous messaging and feedback apps. Since the fall of apps such as Sarahah and Yik Yak, new ones like Tellonym and Lipsi have replaced them. However, every generation of these apps seems to have similar risks.
The public/private duality of the app allows for one-sided feedback. The person who is anonymously commenting or messaging can easily hide behind their anonymity to say brutally honest and/or harmful things. The app frequently reminds users that it is a space for positivity where hate speech and bullying will not be tolerated. There are also systems for users to report inappropriate comments. In spite of the existence of these measures, there is still room for hateful or inappropriate conversations to take place, as they often do in anonymous online spaces.
Although Lipsi requires users to verify that they are at least 18 years of age, the process only involves checking a box. Many users seem to be underage, and the app appears to be designed to appeal to young people.
Lipsi claims that it is a space for potential mental health advocacy where users can help friends who may be in crisis or want to talk to someone anonymously. However, as people can say anything, there are no ways to ensure that this type of interaction will place. Additionally, the possibility of hateful comments and bullying on the app significantly decrease its viability as a mental health resource. Mental health counselors and services like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) can provide actual confidential support.
Overall, Lipsi seems to follow its anonymous messaging app predecessors in being a space for young people to tell each other “what they really think,” thus creating a space with the potential for bullying, trolling, and hate. Although there are some potentially positive uses for this app, it is difficult to ensure that they won’t be overshadowed by harmful and negative ones.