Discord acquires Gas, a compliment-based social media app for teens • TechCrunch
Messaging platform Discord has announced the acquisition of Gas, an app popular with teens for its positive effect on social media.
On Gas, users register with their school, add friends, and take surveys about their classmates. But survey questions are meant to build user trust rather than hurt it. Teenagers can be asked to choose which of four friends is the best DJ or has the most beautiful smile. Then, the chosen person will receive an anonymous message with their compliment, sent by a vague “boy in 10th” or “girl in 11th”.
Gas was founded by Nikita Bierwhich previously sold a similar app called tbh to Facebook in 2017 – tbh has since been shut down.
According to data from Sensor Tower, Gas has reached 7.4 million installs and nearly $7 million in consumer spending since its launch in the summer of 2022. Users can subscribe to a paid feature called “God Fashion,” which gives users clues about who their secret complimenters are.
“For now, Gas will continue to be its own standalone app and the Gas team will join Discord to help our efforts continue to grow with new core audiences,” Discord wrote in an announcement. Since October, Bier said Gas had four team members.
Despite Gas’ rapid popularity, the app had a rocky road to release. The app was the subject of a widespread sex trafficking rumor, which was completely untrue, but still impacted app downloads. Bier told the Washington Post that he and his team received hundreds of graphic death threats as a result of this prank. Other viral social apps IRL and WalkSafe have also faced unfounded trafficking accusations.
Gas is one of many anonymous apps – some based on compliments, some not – that have gone viral recently. But TechCrunch discovered that apps like NGL and Sendit used bots to simulate engagement. Like Gas, these apps offer users the option to pay to see who asked questions. Understandably, some customers felt scammed when it turned out that these questions weren’t coming from their friends. Meanwhile, 9count, the company that made Spark and Summer, is working on a Gas-like product called nocapp.
Although Discord will currently continue to operate as a standalone product, Discord recently announced that it will integrate a selection of apps into its servers. So it is possible that we may see these positive community polls on the messaging platform in the future.
“We’re always working to create an inclusive world where no one feels like an outsider and we’re excited to welcome Gas to the Discord community as our next step in realizing that vision,” Discord wrote in its announcement.
Terms of Discord’s acquisition of Gas were not disclosed.