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Anonymous apps Fizz, Sidechat compete for students’ attention

<h5>A screenshot of an ad for Sidechat that showed up for a student on Instagram.</h5>
<h6>Eden Teshome / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
A screenshot of an ad for Sidechat that showed up for a student on Instagram.
Eden Teshome / The Daily Princetonian

Fizz and Sidechat, two competing private anonymous discussion apps, made their way to campus during the first few weeks of the semester. Both apps have recruited students to promote their respective platforms by offering free merchandise, such as hats, t-shirts, or money to those who post about them on social media.

Fizz was launched by two Stanford dropout students, Teddy Solomon and Ashton Cofer, in July 2021. According to its website, Fizz’s goal is to “facilitate authentic conversations through anonymity while being properly moderated by other students in the community.” Students can register for Fizz with their University-affiliated email address, where they’ll be restricted to connecting with other students at their school.

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Sidechat was released seven months after Fizz, in February of 2022. The founders of Sidechat remain anonymous, but according to The Harvard Crimson, Sidechat “allows its users to share memes, jokes, and confessions on a Reddit-style forum with those who attend the same school” in an anonymous format.

While some students have flocked to the apps, many say they are not impressed, especially as the app appears to be redundant with existing platforms like Tiger Confessions.

“[It’s] one step down from Bumble ambassador,” Sullivan Meyer ’24 said.

Meyer is a Staff News Writer for The Daily Princetonian.

Jonathan Ma ’24, however, explained that one of the apps, Sidechat, is distinct from Tiger Confessions in terms of being almost exclusively populated with memes rather than written “confessions.” Ma downloaded Sidechat after seeing one of his friends using it, and said he scrolls through the content every day. 

“It adds a very marginal benefit to my life,” Ma said. “The slightest improvement.”

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Fizz and Sidechat marketers both staked out at popular campus locations, such as Frist Campus Center, the U-Store, and Yeh & New College West dining hall.

A Fizz promoter in Frist asked Jocelyn Li ’26 if she wanted a hat while she was on her way from late meal.

Li said that she said yes, and reached for the hat, but then the promoter stopped her from grabbing it. “[He said that] ‘you have to download an app first,’” she said.

Sean Wang ’24 saw Sidechat promoters near Yeh College. He asked them whether or not they are paid per download. The promoters said that they are paid hourly, so there’s less incentive to promote it.

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He took a free cookie but said, “[Sidechat] didn’t really appeal to me — I never was into Tiger Confessions or apps like that.” 

Bhoomika Chowdhary is a staff writer who often covers University affairs/policy and research. She can be reached at bhoomika@princeton.edu. She is also a senior copy editor for the ‘Prince.’

Edward Tian is a news and features writer who experiments with data driven and alternative story format (ASF) reporting. He can be reached on Twitter @edward_the6.

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