Whisper, an anonymous app that lets users share secrets, had a post today claiming actress Gwyneth Paltrow is cheating on her husband with entertainment lawyer Kevin Yorn.
The Whisper post started to get a lot of attention after the app’s new editor in chief and Gawker’s former viral news star Neetzan Zimmerman tweeted it earlier today:
Zimmerman’s tweet refers to Vanity Fair’s decision to kill a profile about Paltrow last year.
If the Whisper post is true, it marks the first time someone has used the app to break national news, and it draws questions about the future of the app and community-journalism. On the other hand, since users post anonymously to Whisper, there’s no way to verify whether or not the post is true. The app has traditionally been used for making confessions about one’s self, not gossip about other people. The Paltrow post makes Whisper more like Secret and other anonymous apps which let users post recklessly about others. Traditionally, those companies have all been shut down from lawsuits, libel, and defamation.
Whisper CEO Michael Heyward told Business Insider that while the app has always supported discussions around celebrities, it doesn’t support ill-intentioned rumour mongering. Whisper’s editors can remove posts that might be defamatory.
“We have, (and always will have) a zero tolerance policy towards bullying and personal defamation on Whisper,” he said. “That said, we have always allowed honest and open discussion as it relates to public figures or other entities in the public domain. Our policies around moderation will never change and are in place to make sure that no user ever feels hurt by the actions of another user on the service.”
Whisper users weren’t impressed with the rumour about Paltrow. Most users responded with, “who cares?”