GMA News Online

Vibe: A smartphone messaging app for social action

October 5, 2011 3:21pm

Tags: Google
Helpful or dangerous? A new smartphone app allows users to send anonymous messages to exercise their freedom of expression —but can also be used to organize rallies and protests.

The "Vibe" app is available for both Apple's iOS (iPhone, iPad) and Google's Android operating systems for smartphones and mobile devices.

"Vibe is a new mobile app for communicating with people around you without necessarily knowing them. They can be coworkers at work, schoolmates on campus, folks in the park, or residents in your building," said a message on Vibe's website (

The app works by GPS and allows the user to choose the range and duration of the messages —and is anonymous.

"Use Vibe to exchange ideas, ask/get advice, buy/sell stuff, or even organize flash mobs!" the site suggested.

Useful in rallies and protests

But tech site The Next Web noted the app had been used by participants of last weekend's "Occupy Wall Street" protest in New York City.

It said potential issues with this sort of service have already been pointed out, with AnyBeat’s Chief Morality Officer John Halcyon Styn noting the lack of transparency "could be dangerous."

"Knowing that anonymous users might be able to use tools like Vibe to organize and provide potentially harmful or dangerous information — and all without facing consequences — is a huge risk," it said.

"Social applications like Vibe that were originally meant to be used in helpful ways ... don’t always end up working out quite the way they were intended. Even social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Blackberry Messenger (BBM) were recently used to organize and coordinate some of the pillaging in the London riots," it added. — TJD, GMA News

Tags: Google

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