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A former Facebook manager created America’s hottest new app

A former Facebook manager created America's hottest new app
A former Facebook manager created America’s hottest new app

A new app knocked out of the top spot BeReal Y TikTok. If you’ve been looking at the iPhone download charts in the US lately, you may have noticed a mysterious-looking app at the top of the list, called Gas. It won’t help you find cheap gas, and you can’t even get service in most states. Gas is the social network of the moment among American high school students.

The app, co-created by a former product manager at Meta Platforms Inc.., managed to overtake TikTok and BeReal to be the #1 free download on the App Store for several days in the last week. the hook of Gas It’s Positivity: Ask high school students to anonymously send compliments to their friends via polls. Gas makes sure people are nice by offering only a limited set of options written by the company, such as “this person is the best DJ at a party” or “this person is likely to be a millionaire.” Users can then vote on the accolades.

Gas app (App Store)
Gas app (App Store)

Gas is similar to a previous creation of Nikita Beerwhich earned him a position in Facebookcall tbh, abbreviation for “to be honest”. tbh, which raised money from the Founders Fund and Greylock Partners, already had more than 5 million users by the time it was bought by Facebook in 2017. Its new app, Gas, is a reference to the term “gassing someone,” or increasing your self-esteem.

“The reason I built it was because I wanted to recapture what tbh did for so many kids five years ago, which was to raise self-esteem and spread positivity,” Bier told me.

tbh app (Twitter: @thetbhapp)
tbh app (Twitter: @thetbhapp)

Gas has not yet reached the level of popularity of tbh. Since its launch in August, Gas has been downloaded over 500,000 times and has frequently held a spot in the top 10 this month, according to analytics provider Data.ai. Bier says that he is adding up close to 100,000 users per day. This is impressive, as the company did very little advertising and relied on word of mouth to spread the app to schools across the country.

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However, growth is threatened by a delusion that runs rampant in Snapchat. People are claiming that Gas is a place for human trafficking because he asks for the Location user to determine nearby schools. It originated with a review by a user in China on the App Store and then spread on TikTok by accounts with “little to no American teen following,” Bier tweeted over the weekend.

Gas took to TikTok last week to debunk the rumour, saying the company does not track or store users’ locations and does not sell personal data to third parties. Gas also does not allow messaging.

“We’ve been surprised because we’ve built the app and designed it for an extreme level of privacy and security,” Bier said. “We wanted to create an extremely safe place because we have a very sensitive public. We went beyond what is expected of a normal social application.”

The Gas app is in the top 10 and has already been downloaded more than 500,000 times (Twitter: @nikitabier)
The Gas app is in the top 10 and has already been downloaded more than 500,000 times (Twitter: @nikitabier)

For now, Gas is self-financing. Users can pay $7 a week – or much less if they enter during a promotion – for a subscription called God mode that gives them clues about who has voted for them in the polls, bonuses that reveal the identity of the voter and other functions. The app is only available to users of iPhone in a handful of states, like Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania. It will soon be available nationwide, Bier said, declining to reveal when an Android app might be available.

Maintaining momentum is always a challenge for any “it” app. BeReal, a French photo-sharing app, quickly spread across college campuses in the spring, but the ratio of daily active users already lags behind those of other apps. Only 9% of BeReal users on Android open the app every day, worse than TikTok or Instagram, according to data from Sensor Tower.

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Bier acknowledged that Gas’s popularity may be short-lived: “Even if this only lasts for a period of time, kind of a hit game for a fleeting moment, that impact would still be so significant to millions of teenagers.”

By Michael Tobin (Bloomberg)

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