Trill is a new safe and secure anonymous community started by five high school girls to support people battling depression, anxiety, mental health and other sensitive issues.
The project was founded 5 months ago and uses iCepa’s iOS Tor Framework in order to mask each user’s IP address. According to the founders, this makes it hard for authorities to block its use in countries where internet is censored, restricted or monitored.
It uses machine learning algorithms and human administrators to moderate user posts so that they meet Trill standards. When users sign up, they are assigned random usernames based on their colour of choice and if they feel unsafe, they can always change their identity.
The founders envision users of this social network being confident enough to share what they are struggling with, relate with others from all over the world and assist each other through honest thoughts without fear for harassment or persecution.
Trill comes at a time when depression and suicide rates are on the rise around the world and among young people struggling to cope up with their ever-changing lives and digital.
Some people have tried to express themselves through social media but most of them have ended up having their words used against them which has lowered the self esteem of many others or led to self-harm making it hard to find help or connect.
The importance of this app could go way beyond teen depression and mental health issues and encapsulate more issues. For instance, the youth struggling in war torn areas in the Middle East and parts of Africa, sexual abuse and rape victims and so much more.
Meet the founders of Trill
The network was built by five girls; Ari, Izzy, Georgia, Sara and Alexandra (Lexi) who started out by forming a team to participate the in the Technovation Challenge which is a worldwide competition challenging high school girls to build apps that solve a problem in their communities.
They are all NCWIT National Awardees except Izzy. Ari is a 3 times WWDC Scholar (Apple Developer Scholarship) whose apps have been recognized by the U.S. Congress and South by Southwest. Izzy is a professional web developer and a Women in Technology Oracle Scholarship Awardee who is going to attend the United States Military Academy next Fall.
Georgia has won national awards for her AspireIT coding camp for girls and will be attending Harvard University next Fall. Sara spent the last summer doing computer science research at the University of Southern California and; Alexandra is an editor for a nationally recognized high school newspaper, the Harvard-Westlake Chronicle.
You can tell that these young beautiful girls are smart high achievers and self-determined. Inspired by their own sense of privacy about their lives on social media and how many young people (Gen Z) are struggling with mental health, they decided to create a solution that solves these problems.
They got more than 10,000 email signups in 3 weeks for their beta when they asked the question, “What would you tell the world if no one knew you were telling it?” on Tumblr and Instagram through their own accounts! If this wasn’t a sign that they were onto something, I don’t know what is.
By the way society has structured itself with all the critic, judgement and cyberbullying; we are more likely to open up about what we are going through to a stranger and if they didn’t know who we really are, then this might even if small at times help relieve the feeling of being alone or unworthy.
The app has an Emergency section incorporated in partnership with Astra labs that offers immediate support through crisis hotlines for different topics like suicide prevention, domestic abuse and LGBTQ+ support.
The plan is to gradually roll out a mechanism to detect dangerous patterns or posts in users especially those more likely to self-harm and provide relevant support and education within the app. In some cases, the app will also recommend or schedule an appointment with a professional or a crisis call.
The aim is to initiate some kind of proactive help since not all people maybe ready or willing to do so and there is a feeling a person gets when someone listens or cares enough to recommend assistance.
How will the Trill project self-sustain or make money?
Accessing Trill is totally free with no subscription or in app purchasing through their iOS app so you must be wondering how they plan to sustain the project and remain relevant.
One of their founders Ari Sokolov mentioned that they created machine learning models that having been studying and training from posts and moderation’s on Trill. These models can identify and flag the possibility that one of the users wants to self-harm, harass another user or might harm others.
The team plans to create and license an API to these powerful models so that developers and companies which need to use similar functionalities in their systems can pay for their use.
I am hyped for the Trill project and hope it sets off and gains more traction. From the reactions I have seen on Product Hunt, it looks like they are off to a good start.
My only worry is that they wish to go global and developing countries in much of Asia and Africa have very high rates of depression and abuse. They would most definitely benefit from this, but the margin of people who own iPhones in these countries to access this service is incredibly low compared to Android smartphones, web access through desktops at internet cafes and feature phones.
I hope they have a plan for this and will have an integration for local support services in these areas like they did with Astra labs that’s if school or their life plans don’t take their commitment and time away. Let us see what the future holds.
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Lawrence writes about tech, lifestyle, politics, business, crypto and occasionally entertainment. He writes for Newslibre and Spur Magazine while consulting with numerous international companies on strategy, community management and marketing.
He has contributed to the journalism, open source, film, youth, web, Andela and Mozilla communities.