Students are beginning to embrace the new platforms to anonymously share memes, polls, GIFS and other content with each other, while Fizz and Sidechat compete for their clientele.
Staff Journalist and Contributing Journalist
Yale Daily News
Sidechat and Fizz, two anonymous chat apps that are expanding to college campuses across the country, recently recruited Yalies to promote their launch at the University.
Both platforms rose to prominence as competing replacements for Librex, an anonymous app founded by Yale that suddenly shut down in February this year. The apps — nearly identical in structure, but owned separately — both offer students the ability to share anonymous content with their peers, as well as vote and comment on posts. Sidechat and Fizz have built up a large network of Yalie users and ambassadors.
“Fizz was essentially designed to be an engaging and safe anonymous space where people can post memes, polls, GIFS, links, and text messages to their college community,” said Fizz co-founder Teddy Solomon. “You know who’s in the community — it’s the people around you — you just don’t know who’s who in the community. And that’s the beauty of it. Anonymity allows people to express themselves, but in a well-moderated environment of students from their school. »
Some students, however, weren’t entirely convinced that these new apps will avoid the damage done by earlier anonymous apps. When Librex was shut down, students spoke out about the negative and problematic content of the anonymous forum. For Amelia Lee ’26, anonymous platforms like Fizz and Sidechat can “easily be abused”, and Patti Mullin ’26 said users must always deal with the possibility of having their identity leaked on anonymous apps.
Fizz was started by two Stanford college dropouts in July 2021, Solomon and Ashton Colfer, with the stated goal of creating productive anonymous discourse on college campuses. After signing up with their college email address, Fizz users are connected to a student-only network at their school.
Sidechat came out almost a year after Fizz, in February of this year. The News could not reach the Sidechat founders for comment.
“[Sidechat is] an anonymous posting app where people can post their thoughts or things they find funny without it being tied to an account or their name,” Shane Zhang ’25, a Yale student paid by Sidechat to promote the application but who said he was not an official representative, told the News.
Fizz and Sidechat operate on a campus-by-campus basis, recruiting student ambassadors and groups to promote their respective apps through presentations and social media postings.
Zhang said he was paid $60 per hour by Sidechat to promote the app at the university. His promotional duties included standing outside Toad’s Place last Wednesday handing out $5 tickets to students who downloaded Sidechat. Zhang and other Sidechat promoters also deposited on Cross Campus, rewarding students who signed up for the app with cookies and cash.
Bella Osgood ’25 has identified herself as Fizz’s lead ambassador at Yale. In her role, Osgood explained that she was under contract with Fizz until August, working to launch the app at Yale on August 31. She worked directly with Solomon and Colfer as a liaison with Yale.
Osgood was tasked with recruiting ambassadors for the app’s launch day. Yale Fizz Ambassadors in turn promoted the app by giving donuts and hats to students who uploaded or posted a story. Additionally, Fizz compensated the students for reposting a graphic promoting the app on their Instagram Stories.
Sidechat and Fizz also promote their apps through collaborations with campus organizations. According to Solomon, the Edon Club and the men’s lacrosse team both partnered with Fizz. The men’s heavyweight team is also affiliated with Sidechat, according to Eleanor Lockhart ’26. Both apps financially sponsor parties for their on-campus partners, and student groups only allow students who have downloaded their respective apps to attend parties.
The validity of certain promotional methods has been questioned, in particular by Fizz ambassadors.
Osgood said Sidechat ambassadors offer compensation to students who delete the Fizz app from their phones. Lee confirmed that Sidechat ambassadors asked him to delete Fizz in exchange for five dollars.
Solomon said he asked Yale Fizz ambassadors not to tell students to delete Sidechat, but rather to talk about the merits of Fizz.
However, the competition between the two applications remains strong.
“Sidechat is almost an exact clone of our platform created a year ago [after Fizz] by a group of 32-year-old Stanford graduates,” Solomon said. “In terms of challenges, we welcome the competition. We’ve seen them on many campuses now, and we’re still leading the way. We never do anything in response to Sidechat.
The students offered their take on the Fizz and Sidechat controversy, noting that neither app has fully won their favor.
“Honestly, I find the whole Fizz vs Sidechat debate very entertaining,” said Gia George-Burgher ’26. “I feel like if anything came out of it, it’s really good content, good gossip and good comedy.”
Ryan Schiller ’23 launched the Librex app at Yale in 2019.