February 2, 2023

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Discord Acquires Gas, a Compliment-Based Social Media App for Teens • TechCrunch

Messaging platform Discord announced its acquisition of Gas, an app popular with teenagers for its positive influence on social media.

On Gas, users log in with their school, add friends, and answer surveys about their classmates. But the questions in the surveys are intended to strengthen user trust instead of damaging it. Teenagers could be asked to vote which of four friends is the best DJ or has the prettiest smile. Then the selected person receives an anonymous message with their compliment, sent by a vague “boy in 10th grade” or “girl in 11th grade”.

Gas was founded by Nikita Beerwho sold a similar app called tbh to Facebook back in 2017 – tbh has since been shut down.

Gas has reached 7.4 million installations and nearly $7 million in consumer spending since its launch in the summer of 2022, according to data from Sensor Tower. Users can subscribe to a paid feature called “God Mode,” which gives users clues as to who their secret compliments are.

“As of this writing, Gas will continue as its own standalone app and the Gas team will be joining Discord to support our efforts to continue to grow through new and core audiences,” Discord wrote in an announcement. From October beer said Gas had four team members.

Despite Gas’s rapid popularity, the app had a rocky road to its exit. The app was the subject of a widespread sex trafficking rumor that was completely false, but still impacted app downloads. Bier told the Washington Post that he and his team received hundreds of death threats as a result of this scam. Other viral social apps IRL and WalkSafe have also been hit by baseless human trafficking allegations.

Gas is one of several anonymous apps — some based on compliments, some not — that have gone viral lately. But TechCrunch found that apps like NGL and Sendit used bots to simulate engagement. Like Gas, these apps allow users to pay to see who posted questions. Understandably, some customers felt cheated when it turned out these questions weren’t actually coming from their friends. Meanwhile, 9count, the company that made Spark and Summer, is working on a gas-like product called nocapp.

Although Discord Gas will continue to operate as a standalone product for the time being, Discord recently announced plans to integrate a selection of apps into its servers. So it is possible that we will see these positive community polls on the messaging platform in the future.

“We’re always working to create an inclusive world where no one feels like an outsider, and we’re excited to welcome Gas to the Discord community as the next step in fulfilling that vision,” Discord wrote in its announcement.

The terms of Discord’s acquisition of Gas were not disclosed.