“Do you support building a physical barrier across the southern border of the United States?”
“Do you like salmon?”
These questions represent two ends of the Aop app, an anonymous platform where users vote on issues both controversial and mundane. Topics range from politics and relationships to food and brands.
“Our goal is to allow people to share their opinions with total honesty and let them see how their views fit in with everyone else’s,” said co-founder Kaben Clauson. “We want this to be a Wikipedia of opinion.”
Clauson came up with the idea for Aop at the tail end of 2016. Like many, he wondered how professional pollsters had failed to accurately capture public opinion on major political events like Brexit and the United States presidential election. Simultaneously he knew that that his friends were reluctant to share opinions about controversial topics on major social media channels.
“What we’re solving for is a real crisis in how we capture public opinion,” said Clauson. “We’re able to gather real feedback on controversial issues like sex, racism and politics.”
To ensure privacy, Aop does not require users to input an email address or link a social media profile to create an account. Instead, the app asks for demographic information like age, gender, political affiliation, geography and race. To prevent people from lashing out at one another, Aop doesn’t allow users to interact in any way.
“If you want to debate, AOP isn’t really the best place for that,” Clauson said. “We want to be a place that sparks debate on other platforms.”
Clauson’s goal is to engage users with data. Every time a question is answered, the app shows the overall voting results broken down by demographics. The results of a poll can be shared on Facebook and Twitter, and topics of interest can be followed to see how opinion develops over time.
Launched in May, Aop has more than 6,000 users at the time of this writing. The seven-person team behind it is based out of 1871.
As for next steps, the Aop team is currently looking for ways to make the app more social without compromising user anonymity.
Image via Aop.