New 'Gossip' App Fizz Leads To Widespread High School Bullying, Raises Concerns Over Teen Anxiety: Report (Updated)

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with comments from a Fizz spokesperson.

The launch of a new gossip app, Fizz, at a Vermont high school has reportedly led to widespread bullying and controversy, reigniting concerns about the impact of social media on teen mental health.

What Happened: The app, created by two Stanford University students, was intended to provide a safe, anonymous space for students to connect. However, it quickly devolved into a platform for cyberbullying, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The high school’s principal described the situation as the most disruptive in his nine years at the school.

Posts on the app included speculation about students’ sexual orientation, mocking of their appearance and disabilities, and accusations of teacher-student relationships. The app’s upvoting system often pushed the most harmful posts to the top, creating an environment of fear and distrust among the students.

Subscribe to the Benzinga Tech Trends newsletter to get all the latest tech developments delivered to your inbox.

Despite the app’s community guidelines, which prohibit bullying and hate speech, the situation quickly spiraled out of control, leading to student tears and distress.

"It was advertised as a gossip app," says Nikhil Blasius, student body co-president at the Vermont school.

“Fizz is at 300 schools and only 2 school communities have ever been removed,” a Fizz spokesperson told Benzinga.

See Also: Palantir CEO Says Its LLM ‘More Like A Chemistry Experiment’ Being Refined For Business

While the app’s creators aimed to provide a more authentic and vulnerable social media experience, the app has been criticized for its lack of effective content moderation.

Why It Matters: The Fizz app’s rapid descent into a platform for cyberbullying is the latest in a series of incidents involving AI and social media platforms.

In 2023, AI was used to generate and share fake nude images of female students at a New Jersey high school, sparking widespread outrage.

This incident, along with others such as the creation of deepfake images targeting minor girls in a Spanish town, has raised concerns about the potential for AI to be misused for harmful purposes.

These incidents have also highlighted the need for more effective content moderation on social media platforms. In response to the rise of AI-generated fake content, Google developed a tool to spot AI-generated photos with high accuracy, aiming to prevent the spread of fake images online.

Check out more of Benzinga's Consumer Tech coverage by following this link.

Read Next: Edward Snowden Echoes Richard Stallman’s Warnings On Proprietary Software After User Says ‘Adobe Can Not Be Trusted'

Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

Photo courtesy: Unsplash

Market News and Data brought to you by Benzinga APIs
Posted In: NewsSocial MediaTechbenzinga neuroConsumer Techsocial mediaSoftware & Apps
Benzinga simplifies the market for smarter investing

Trade confidently with insights and alerts from analyst ratings, free reports and breaking news that affects the stocks you care about.

Join Now: Free!