App company works to refute false rumor


Rumor has it that a new social media app has been linked to human trafficking, but its makers deny that claim.

The GAS app is a social media platform that uses anonymous compliments to “gas someone up,” allowing users to anonymously vote for their friends in a round of polls that refresh every hour.

Since appearing in Apple’s app store in August, Gas has been downloaded more than 5.1 million times. The company says the idea is to “create a place that makes us feel better about ourselves.”

It reached peak popularity around October and was the highlight of many Snapchat stories. Freshman Sarah Wills, who has downloaded the app, called the negative accusations false.

“As far as I know, I don’t believe it because I didn’t ever witness a way that they could find information about me,” she said.

Wills said downloading the app does not require listing personal information such as location, email address or phone number. According to “The Washington Post,” experts agree that the app doesn’t track users’ locations and can’t be used to message others. It’s basically a digital poll that allows users to anonymously vote using pre-programmed compliments.

“They asked for your name and that’s it,” Wills said. “I think people are taking [the rumor] too far.”

Freshman Marcella Armour said she spotted human trafficking accusation when she saw a post on a Snapchat story.

“I was scrolling through and I saw on one of my friend’s stories that there was a warning for people who used the GAS app,” she said. “The post said that more than 50 students have gone missing after they put their information into the app.”

The company addressed the rumor shortly thereafter, calling it a hoax, even though police departments and parent groups have helped spread the misinformation. As a result, Armour said she’s not taking any chances.

“I’m not one to believe these accusations immediately,” Armour said. “But the company sure knows how fast I deleted their app.”

By Claire Chen