LIFESTYLE: ‘Profoundly’ and the joys and dangers of anonymity
April 22, 2019 Kae Luna
If you have ever used Profoundly or are planning to, you should know there are some pros and cons to it. Let us take you through a crash course!
Profoundly.me has taken Facebook by storm these past few weeks. For the minority of us who are not as active on the internet, ‘Profoundly’ is an app that lets you send messages to people on Messenger and Facebook. The app’s over 8 million users took through the app to share their feelings towards one another anonymously. Some users here in the Philippines seemed to format the use of this app to another app called Curiouscat which was made for users to answer questions from anonymous users. ‘Profoundly’ is being used these days to express things and ask questions at the same time.
Most likely, the messages we receive through ‘Profoundly’ are ones that the senders can’t say to us with the knowledge that we know who they are. Because why else would people feel the need to hide behind an app just to be able to say something? Well, there can be various reasons why.
The internet has been built with the feature of anonymity. In social media sites, we can hide behind any name now, and sometimes it’s necessary for the protection of our personal information. In this case, people hide behind an app that promises anonymity when they are going to say something that might risk them being vulnerable to personal attacks, specifically hate comments, inappropriate questions, and others. Political opinions and other things are among other examples, too.
Somehow, we can’t blame them. It does not seem like the app is making these negativities possible, it seems like it is causing it. People are usually saying bad things to one another because they know they can do it and get away with it. It allows for expression without filters, and not only is it unnecessary, but it’s also a dangerous game. Funny how we use the app because we protect ourselves from personal attacks, but also use it to attack people.
Profoundly has also been a medium for hidden feelings. You can now confess to your crushes through the app! Nonetheless, your identity is still hidden so the app only helps you say it, but it won’t help you start something with that person unless you decide to message them directly without having to hide who you are. If it’s enough for you to tell the person how you feel, we don’t judge. But does the person really know at all if he doesn’t know who it’s from? Could it be pointless without you introducing yourself? Think about it!
The joys and dangers
What are the joys of anonymity? If you’re the sender of an anonymous message, it gives you the chance to say things without people knowing who you are. This helps people receive your message without prejudice because your identity is hidden. On the receiver’s end, it’s sometimes thrilling to see what people think about you (or have been wanting to ask you) past the pretense that is sometimes necessary to be able to be civil and keep a proper image.
On the other hand, it also causes unnecessary cyberbullying and negativity on the platform, things that these people couldn’t have had the courage to say under their real names. I’ve seen some of my friends get criticized for their jobs, how they look, and things they have done in the past, and the receivers of these messages have no medium to defend themselves from the actual person who sent it. They are left with no choice but to answer it publicly (because you obviously can’t reply through a private message) and have everyone know about the message which is, frankly, not something most of us are willing to do.
Are we to blame?
On another note, why put ourselves in such a situation? We know we have to actually share our links in order to be able to receive anonymous messages. Some people complain about receiving hate on the app. But to think of it, we ourselves gave them the medium where they can actually spread hate. We use the app, share the link, and then wonder why people would hide behind the app to tell us things (hmmm).
Not to say that the people who are sending hate messages were justified. Spreading hate, anonymous or not is still technically wrong. In fact, doing it while hiding your identity is even worse. Just to be clear, we have nothing against the app or its creators. We’re just saying that if we choose to use it, there are some pros and cons just like anything on the internet. Either way, we’re gonna have to deal with it.