PYE App Review

What is Fizz?

Fizz is an anonymous social media app that was created by two Stanford students back in 2020. It seeks to connect students from the same university by posting, messaging, and making deals on its own marketplace (similar to Facebook Marketplace). However, users are allowed to make posts and send messages anonymously. Fizz takes the common (and terrible) idea of anonymous message feedback apps such as NGL and combines those features with the desire to connect with your classmates, similar to Saturn.

Fizz accidentally created a highly toxic, school community app. And in 2024, Fizz opened their doors to high schools.

Rated 12+ (Apple Only)

Social Networking

How does Fizz work?

Users start by verifying their phone number. This helps keep the app away from younger kids who shouldn’t have access to a phone, but sneaky kids can always find a way, so this method isn’t perfect. Still, some verification is better than no verification. 

Then, the app instructs you to connect to your school.

After selecting whether you are in high school, college, or in between – a pop-up screen asks you to share your location to easily identify the school you attend.

We strongly recommend NOT sharing your location. 

Next, Fizz requires users to verify their school email address. This is great for safety! Saturn, an app designed to show friends their class schedules, launched without this kind of verification process and it was deeply concerning from a privacy standpoint.

Fizz has this process figured out better. The chances of users joining schools they don’t belong to are rather low. But once students are in and connected to their school, that’s when the real trouble begins.

What else do Parents need to know about Fizz?

It’s not all fun and games. A recent article from the Wall Street Journal highlighted how Fizz is causing social problems across high schools and universities alike.

“Fizz, a private message board for colleges and high schools, opened to students at Vermont’s largest high school in May. Within hours, posts went from jokes and memes to public shaming of students and speculation about teachers’ sex lives. It caused more havoc than the principal had seen in his nine years on the job.”

The post continues to discuss how teens speculated on classmates’ sexual orientation, posted images of classmates mocking the way they look, even mocking the disabilities some of the students have, and posted photos of parties alleging the students involved were drunk or high. All of these posts were anonymous and were “upvoted” (liked) to boost the offensive posts to the top of the page.

The principal stated that he was “shocked and dismayed at how quickly the app created harm.”

Student Moderators help determine appropriate content. Fizz utilizes student moderators for content moderation on top of their built-in content moderation guidelines. The student moderators help to judge if a post is too offensive within the specific group/school they are a part of. To become a moderator for a page, students must complete online training and take a quiz. 

Fizz claims their community guidelines don’t allow for posting private information, bullying, hate speech, or extreme text or images, and that users who break these rules can be banned.

However, they also state that “jokes, memes, complaints, and commentary around teachers and parents are allowed and expected.” 

There is a marketplace on the app, similar to Facebook Marketplace. If you want to buy and sell goods on Fizz, here are a few tips:

  • Don’t share your location – no matter what.
  • Don’t share personal information, not even your phone number. 
  • Don’t go alone – bring a friend or family member.
  • Meet in a public place.
  • If it starts to feel weird, leave quickly.
  • Make sure an adult knows when and where the sale is happening. 

Online meet-up marketplaces always look tempting and can offer great deals. But meeting up with strangers is always risky, especially for high school students. Follow the steps above to stay safer. Better yet, avoid the Marketplace feature altogether!

Direct Messaging. Users can anonymously message one another. Thankfully, there is the option to block users by tapping on their profile or their post.

Our rule of thumb for messaging, even when not anonymous, is to encourage caution. Not everyone is who they say they are. On an anonymous app like Fizz, users should avoid messaging altogether.

No parental controls. As of right now, there are no parental controls. Fizz features a “Parent Hub” on their website which includes FAQs for parents. But there aren’t any actual controls.

Bottom Line: Is Fizz Safe?

Even with the precautions during the account creation process and content moderation training, creating spaces for students to say things without accountability will never be worth the damage it causes. Especially for an app without parental controls

The biggest privacy concern lies in the ability to be anonymous (others may share your info) and the Marketplace feature.

On the mental health side of things, anonymous feedback apps all have a history of causing issues like extreme cyberbullying, anxiety, stress, and depression. When given the option to post without accountability – harassment, lies, and egregious behavior soon follow.

Our opinion is that Fizz is not safe for kids. High schoolers should avoid this app. Most college students are adults, but we would urge them to leave this app alone as well. Even if you’re missing out, it’s simply not worth it. 

What if I have more questions? How can I stay up to date?

Two actions you can take!

  1. Subscribe to our tech trends newsletter, the PYE Download. About every 3 weeks, we’ll share what’s new, what the PYE team is up to, and a message from Chris.
  2. Ask your questions in our private parent community called The Table! It’s not another Facebook group. No ads, no algorithms, no asterisks. Just honest, critical conversations and deep learning! For parents who want to “go slow” together. Become a member today!

The Table - Private Community from PYE

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