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Photo app Hyper wants to put brakes on cyberbullying with community voting

Cyberbullying has become more prevalent in recent years, especially with 92 percent of teens spending their time online daily, according to the Pew Research Center. StopBullying.gov says 15 percent of high school students (grades 9-12) were bullied online, and 22 percent of college students reported being victims of cyberbullying. The effects could follow these youngters into adulthood. While some social media platforms have allowed the problem to run rampant, such as the now-defunct Secret (which allowed total anonymity), others have been more proactive about the issue. One such new service is a photo-sharing app called Hyper, which seeks to combat the rise in online bullying (via The Huffington Post).

Hyper is based around community interests, as opposed to individual profiles; users can choose to post anonymously, if they wish. They share photos based on interests, with hashtags such as #music or #gamers, and the community votes on photos in each genre. Each photo is loaded in real-time and it can rise to the top or fall to the bottom, depending on community interest. As HuffPo points out, it’s much like “upvotes” on Reddit.

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Hyper co-creator Dan Frieber spoke with ThinkProgress and addressed his app’s intentions on combating cyberbullying. Frieber said he would allow the voting system to decide, and intervene only when extremely necessary. “The system of voting that we have actually takes care of the bullying comments, and if it gets out of control, we get rid of it through moderation,” he says. “As soon as you get in there to hate, it gets downvoted.”

According to ThinkProgress, Hyper is more supportive of marginalized groups, like the LGBT community. Those who identified as LGBT were more likely to be cyberbullied than their heterosexual peers. Frieber admitted that like every online community, there will still be disagreements and arguing, but connecting over interests as opposed to personal profiles is effectively mitigating the effects of cyberbullying. “Our interests are what make us who we are, that’s who we actually are. When you connect people this way, it’s natural,” he says.