Yale Daily News

Sidechat and Fizz, two anonymous chat apps expanding to college campuses across the country, recently recruited Yalies to promote their launch at the University. 

The two platforms rose to prominence as competing replacements for Librex, a Yale-founded anonymous app which shut down suddenly in February of this year. The apps — almost identical in structure, but separately owned — both offer students the opportunity to share anonymous content with their peers and also upvote and comment on posts. Sidechat and Fizz have amassed a substantial network of Yalie users and ambassadors.

“Fizz was essentially built to be an engaging and safe anonymous space where people can post memes, polls, GIFS, links and text posts to their college community,” Fizz co-founder Teddy Solomon said. “You know who is in the community — it’s the people around you — you just don’t know who’s who in the community. And that’s the beauty of it. The anonymity allows people to speak their mind but within a well-moderated environment of students at their school.”

Some students, however, were not fully convinced that these new apps will avoid the harm prior anonymous apps have caused. When Librex was shut down, students spoke out on the anonymous forum’s negative and problematic content. For Amelia Lee ’26, anonymous platforms like Fizz and Sidechat can “easily be abused,” and Patti Mullin ’26 said that users must always contend with the possibility of having their identity be released on the anonymous apps. 

Fizz was launched by two Stanford dropout students in July 2021, Solomon and Ashton Co

fer, with the stated goal of creating productive anonymous discourse on college campuses. After registering with their college email address, Fizz users are connected to a network restricted to students at their school. 

Sidechat was released nearly a year after Fizz, in February of this year. The News was unable to reach Sidechat’s founders for a comment. 

“[Sidechat is] an anonymous posting app where people can post their thoughts or things they find funny without it being tied to an account or their name,” Shane Zhang ’25, a Yale student being paid by Sidechat to promote the app but who said he is not an official representative, told the News.

Both Fizz and Sidechat operate campus by campus, recruiting student ambassadors and groups to promote their respective apps through tabling and social media outreach.

Zhang reported being paid $60 per hour by Sidechat to promote the app at the University. His promotional tasks included standing outside of Toad’s Place last Wednesday passing out $5 bills to students who downloaded Sidechat. Zhang and other Sidechat promoters also tabled on Cross Campus, rewarding students who registered for the app with cookies and cash. 

Bella Osgood ’25 identified herself as a Lead Ambassador for Fizz at Yale. In her role, Osgood explained that she was in a contract with Fizz through August, working to launch the app at Yale on Aug. 31. She worked directly with Solomon and Cofer as a liaison to Yale.

Osgood was tasked with recruiting ambassadors for the app’s launch day. Yale Fizz ambassadors in turn promoted the app by offering donuts and hats to students who downloaded or posted a story. Additionally, Fizz compensated students for reposting a graphic promoting the app to their Instagram stories.

Sidechat and Fizz also promote their apps through collaborations with campus organizations. According to Solomon, The Edon Club and the men’s lacrosse team have both partnered with Fizz. The men’s heavyweight crew team is also affiliated with Sidechat, according to Eleanor Lockhart ’26. Both apps financially sponsor parties for their on-campus partners, and the student groups allow only students who have downloaded their respective apps to attend the parties. 

The merits of some promotional methods have been called into question, particularly by Fizz ambassadors. 

Osgood said that Sidechat ambassadors were offering compensation to students who removed the Fizz app from their phones. Lee confirmed that she was asked by Sidechat ambassadors to delete Fizz in exchange for five dollars.

Solomon said he instructed the Yale Fizz ambassadors not to tell students to delete Sidechat, but rather to speak about the merits of Fizz. 

Still, competition between the two apps remains strong.

“Sidechat is almost an exact clone of our platform created a year [after Fizz] by a group of 32-year-old Stanford grads,” Solomon said. “In terms of challenges, we welcome the competition. We’ve seen them on many campuses now, and we always come out on top. We never do anything in response to Sidechat.”

Students offered their takes on the Fizz and Sidechat controversy, noting that neither app has completely gained their favor. 

“Honestly, I just find the whole Fizz vs. Sidechat debate very entertaining,” Gia George-Burgher ’26 said. “I feel like if anything has come out of this it’s definitely good content, good gossip and great comedy.”

Ryan Schiller ’23 launched the Librex app at Yale in 2019. 

Correction, Sept. 8: A previous version of this article referred to Fizz co-founder as Ashton Colfer. Cofer is in fact the proper spelling. The article has been updated to reflect this.

Olivia Lombardo is a beat reporter for the News covering the Jackson School and the School of Management. She is a sophomore in Morse College studying Political Science.
Molly Reinmann covers Admissions, Financial Aid & Alumni for the News. Originally from Westchester, New York, she is a sophomore in Berkeley College majoring in American Studies.