Social media app Gas dethrones TikTok in the App Store

  • A new app for high school students is currently ranked #1 in the App Store, beating BeReal and TikTok.
  • The “Gas” app allows users to send anonymous compliments to their friends and classmates through surveys.
  • The creators are trying to dispel a human trafficking hoax that they believe is causing users to delete their accounts.

An anonymous app for high school students is currently ranked #1 in the App Store – and it’s surprisingly non-toxic.

The social network exploding in popularity among teens is called “Gas,” after Gen Z lingo for “gassing someone.” For older readers, this means paying someone a compliment.

Here’s how it works: After syncing your location and contacts with the app, users vote anonymously for their friends in a series of polls that refresh every hour. The guests range from friendly superlatives to flirtatious confessions. If you win a survey, a “flame” is sent to your inbox.

The app was created by Nikita Bier (the founder of an almost identical “tbh” app that Facebook acquired in 2017 only to shut down months later), Isaiah Turner and former Facebook engineer Dave Schatz. Right now, it’s only available in 12 states, but is expected to go nationwide soon, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Gas app screenshots

Screenshots of the “Gas” application.

Gas app screenshots



Anonymous social media apps for teens have a habit of getting on fire. Yik Yak, an equally anonymous location-based app, was shut down in 2017 following a series of cyberbullying controversies. Then there’s Ask.fm, an anonymous question-and-answer app, which has been linked to several teenage suicides.

But unlike Yik Yak or Ask.fm, Gas users can only vote on pre-written compliments, and there’s no direct messaging.

The company says the app is intentionally designed this way to “create a place that makes us feel better about ourselves” and to show users that “there are people out there who love and look up to you.” .

Gas application

Unlike Yik Yak and Ask.fm, Gas users can only vote on pre-written compliments, and there are no direct messaging features.

Screenshots of the “Gas” application



Currently, the app is battling another kind of controversy: a rumor spreading across TikTok and Snapchat that it’s involved in human trafficking. The hoax caused 3% of users to delete their accounts in one day, according to Bier. Currently, “is gas a sex trafficking app” is one of the top Google search queries related to the app.

“This human trafficking hoax about the Gas app took on a life of its own,” the app co-founder tweeted last week. “I just received a message from a user asking why a van showed up outside his house after installation.”

According to Bier, Gas has 1 million daily active users and acquires 30,000 users per hour. After a Twitter user asked the co-founder how he knew Gas wouldn’t be a one-hit wonder like tbh, Bier replied: “To be honest, I don’t care”, adding that the “best part” is receiving messages from teenagers who say the app has helped their mental health and self-esteem.

Are you an active user of the Gas app and want to share your experience? Email digital culture reporter Mara Leighton at [email protected]

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