World’s largest social media network, Facebook announced Monday it is acquiring positivity-focused polling startup, tbh, and will allow it to operate somewhat independently with its own brand.
The tbh app allows teenagers send anonymous compliments to one another for an undisclosed sum, which tech analysts say would help Facebook eat into the market share of Instagram.
Though the financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, reports say the deal could worth less than $100 million and won’t require any regulatory approval.
As part of the deal, tbh’s four co-creators — Bier, Erik Hazzard, Kyle Zaragoza and Nicolas Ducdodon — will join Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters while continuing to grow their app with Facebook’s cash, engineering, anti-spam, moderation and localization resources.
“When we met with Facebook, we realised that we shared many of the same core values about connecting people through positive interactions,” TBH said in a statement.
“Most of all, we were compelled by the ways they could help us realise tbh’s vision and bring it to more people.”
tbh had scored 5 million downloads and 2.5 million daily active users in the past nine weeks with its app that lets people anonymously answer kind-hearted multiple-choice questions about friends who then receive the poll results as compliments.
You see questions like “Best to bring to a party?,” “Their perseverance is admirable?” and “Could see becoming a poet?” with your uploaded contacts on the app as answer choices.
tbh has racked up more than 1 billion poll answers since officially launching in limited states in August, mostly from teens and high school students, and spent weeks topping the free app charts. When we profiled tbh last month in the company’s first big interview, co-creator Nikita Bier told us, “If we’re improving the mental health of millions of teens, that’s a success to us.”
However, the tbh founders will become formal Facebook employees, with Facebook email addresses, opposed to running more independently like Instagram and WhatsApp, which have their own buildings and emails.
In a statement to TechCrunch, Facebook wrote: “tbh and Facebook share a common goal — of building community and enabling people to share in ways that bring us closer together. We’re impressed by the way tbh is doing this by using polling and messaging, and with Facebook’s resources tbh can continue to expand and build positive experiences.”
It’s interesting that Facebook opted to acquire tbh rather than clone it, since it has been aggressively copying other hit teen apps like Houseparty recently. While Facebook’s Snapchat clone Instagram Stories has achieved massive popularity, other knock-offs it has made haven’t fared as well.
With tbh’s strong brand name, distinctive design and explosive early traction, Facebook seems to have decided it was better to team-up than face-off.
By Anthony Ademiluyi