Blind: Coming Soon to an Employee’s Desktop Near You

Blind: Coming Soon to an Employee’s Desktop Near You

Blind, the anonymous workplace community app that bills itself as a “real-time Glassdoor” and has taken the tech sector by storm, is releasing a desktop version of its native mobile app this month, Joel Cheesman reported last week, citing an app update. The application, which claims hundreds of thousands of verified users including over 30,000 Microsoft employees and 16,000 at Amazon, allows users to chat, share information, and gossip anonymously with other people at their company, about their company.

Blind started out in South Korea in 2014 and came to Silicon Valley in 2015, where it has ignited a controversy over what anonymous forums mean for both employees and employers: Like Glassdoor, Blind is a place where employees can share information (not necessarily accurate) and express opinions (not necessarily positive) without what they say getting back to their employer, but also without that employer having much opportunity to present their side of the story. It has also raised questions about data privacy and security, though Blind assures users that it takes pains to encrypt and discard user data, so that nothing they write there can ever be traced back to them through digital fingerprints, and so that no personal data will be exposed in the event of a breach.

In any case, with the desktop move, Cheesman predicts Blind “will certainly introduce the app to a lot of people who hadn’t heard of it before.” That’s obviously the idea, anyway, as a fast-growing company like Blind naturally wants to expand its user base. Cheesman is skeptical, however, that Blind’s anonymous forum will survive:

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What Do Anonymous Employee Forums Mean for Employers?

What Do Anonymous Employee Forums Mean for Employers?

Mashable’s Kerry Flynn profiles Blind, an exclusive app for Silicon Valley tech employees where “insiders dish dirt, spill beans, and trade advice” about their industry and community:

You can go to any tech journalist or call up any investor on Wall Street to get their take on $SNAP, but if you want to know about how Silicon Valley—the engineers, the product managers, the members of human resources, the sales people, the marketers, etc.—feels about it? Blind is where you should be.

There’s a caveat, though: You can’t get in. Blind is a private community only available to employees at a select number of tech companies. Employees at just over 100 tech giants (including Microsoft, Amazon, Uber, Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn) can join the app. … You can’t simply try making a fake LinkedIn profile, either. All sign-ups are tied to each company’s official email, and must be verified via that email address. But despite the connection, you’re anonymous within the community—and to the app’s creators, too—through patented technology.

Blind is not new, having launched in South Korea in 2014 and in the US in 2015, but it is expanding rapidly, Flynn reports, naming WeWork, Medium, Postmates, and Blue Apron as among the companies recently added to the app. So far, Blind appears to be avoiding the pitfalls that sunk Secret, a bygone anonymous tech forum that “quickly devolved into racism, hatred, and all-around negativity,” and puts a big premium on preserving genuine anonymity for its users:

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