College students use the Fizz social network to buy and sell anonymously

Solomon and Rakesh Mathur, the CEO of Fizz and a long-time entrepreneur, shared details with TechCrunch about the evolution of the social network. Since its creation in 2022, Fizz has grown a lot. It started at a few universities, but is now on 240 college campuses and 60 high schools, with a team of 30 full-time employees and 4,000 volunteer moderators.

Anonymous buying and selling among university students

Fizz has raised $41.5 million in multiple funding rounds, which has helped its rapid expansion. A new feature is its marketplace, where college students can buy and sell things like clothes, books, and bikes.

This feature was launched between March and May of this year, before the sales season at the end of the semester. Since then, 50,000 ads have been posted and 150,000 messages sent about items, with clothing being the most popular category.

Solomon believes Fizz is a safer and more attractive alternative for Generation Z, compared to platforms like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, which are not as popular among young people. Although Fizz doesn’t have integrated payments yet, Solomon said they could develop this feature in the future to make transactions easier.

buy sell college students
Source: The Daily Texan

A distinctive feature of Fizz is his anonymity. To join a Fizz community, users must verify their account with a school email, which adds security. However, in some cases, anonymity has been used to harass other students, leading the company to voluntarily close two communities due to complaints from parents and administrators.

Increased security

To address these issues, Fizz has tightened content moderation. The company has hired dedicated security staff and uses OpenAI technology to improve automated moderation. Still, anonymous apps like Fizz suffer from skepticism from some educational institutions. For example, the president of the University of North Carolina plans to ban anonymous apps on its 16 campuses.

TechCrunch visited a Fizz community at a university and observed posts about topics such as sex and drugs, which are allowed on the social network, but found no harmful behavior. Still, maintaining a secure environment remains a constant challenge, even for the largest platforms.

Fizz argues that their anonymity allows students to express their true feelings, promoting a sense of community and support among them. In addition to serving as a space for personal expression, Fizz’s marketplace offers students the opportunity to find good deals on items like a television, adding practical value to the platform. And it’s that example that Solomon mentions, when he recently moved to a new house in Palo Alto and decided to furnish his room using the Stanford community on Fizz. While shopping for him, he surprised her with a purchase: a $100 television from a graduate student who was moving.

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