New York City Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner recently confirmed the authenticity of a new set of sexually charged online chats with a 22-year-old woman.
The chats allegedly took place last year on Facebook and the lesser-known social networking site Formspring.
Wait a second, what is Formspring and why was Weiner using it for his sexting?
You could think of Formspring as an earlier version of Quora but geared toward teenagers, where people can ask and answer questions.
Once you submit a question, it goes to the user’s inbox. Once they answer it, both the question and answer appear in the person’s feed, which looks slightly similar to a Twitter profile.
You can anonymously ask questions, but you do need a username in order to respond. Weiner reportedly chose “Carlos Danger.”
Due to the anonymous nature of the site, a lot of the questions end up being mostly sexual, a UCLA student told Forbes back in 2010. So it’s no wonder why Weiner may have seen it as a prime location.
For a short while, Formspring was an actively growing social network. It first launched back in 2009 and signed up 1 million users in its first 45 days. At one point, Formspring reached 20 million registered users.
But in 2010, Tumblr trounced Formspring when it launched a feature nearly identical to Formspring’s bread and butter called “Ask Me.” As other sites also copied Formspring, it pivoted to a more interest-based model in 2012. But the new idea ultimately fizzled. In March of this year, Formspring shut down and put a fair amount of blame on its anonymous content.
Formspring’s anonymous nature gave way to cyberbullying. In 2010, a 17-year-old girl committed suicide after being bullied on Formspring.
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