App for That

Vibe: The Anonymous, Anarchist Version of Twitter Being Used at ‘Occupy Wall Street’

Vibe in action at the Occupy Wall Street protest in Liberty Park Plaza.

For anyone who wasn’t aware, there are a few hundred protesters hanging out downtown in a park plaza two blocks from Wall Street. Despite allegations of Twitter censorship, tweets are collating around the hashtags #occupywallst, #occupywallstreet, #ows and #nycga. So when Betabeat walked past an iPad hooked up to a projector showing short hashtagged messages with the occasional photo, we assumed we were looking at a Twitter client. Turns out that’s not what it is. This app is called Vibe, the “new kid on the social media block,” and it’s something different: a Twitter-esque messaging system built by Hazem Sayed, a professional developer from California who built the app as an anonymous alternative to Twitter, reports the New York Daily News.

Mr. Sayed¬†flew out to the protest after he saw people there were using his app; he’s now earned the nickname¬†“White Hat” as he wanders Liberty Park Plaza, passing out flyers for Vibe and explaining to people how to use it. Vibe is anonymous, temporal and location-specific–perfect for organizing flash mobs (or protests!) or any event you want restricted to the people in the vicinity.

One problem with using Twitter for civic resistance–as it was used in Tehran, for example– is that it creates a real-time record that police, governments and militias can monitor, much like the Occupy Wall Street protesters have a police scanner to keep tabs on what the fuzz is up to. But Vibe limits Big Brother’s surveillance ability by providing an option to limit messages to people within a certain radius. Read More