#cyberbullying | #cyberbully | Local app to give social media a G-rating

Mick Esber, developer and CEO, Bhapi

Australian software developer and cybersecurity expert, Mick Esber, will this September launch the beta version of bhapi, a safe social media platform he has developed for Apple and Android.

The app will help people set content boundaries for themselves or their children and will be available by subscription for $5.50 (US$4) per month – or less if they accept advertising. 

“We’ve created bhapi to be a safe place for sharing and receiving content that is AI-reviewed, human-moderated, and with a commitment to never share your data with third parties,” Esber told CMO

The safe social media app was partly prompted by Esber wanting a safe space for his family to use social media and also by the way the Covid-19 pandemic and social media have exacerbated mental health issues.  

The beta version will offer a G-rated, safe space for public messaging. Esber will invite users to try it for free and ask them for feedback as to how they want to use it and what’s needed to do that. The plan is that bhapi will later give users classification warnings and tools to tailor their feed. 

“I think the wind is changing, that regulation’s coming and that people will be willing to pay for it [a safe platform],” said Esber. “The analogy is when Foxtel and Netflix first came to Australia, everyone said no one will use it because people are accustomed to free-to-air TV. I think that’s what’s happening with these [SM] platforms too. People start off with these products and then realise ‘if the product’s free, the product is me’. That’s problem one.” 

Who’s willing to pay

As well as the $5.50 bhapi subscription, there will be a pull-marketing subscription where people can opt in to ads by choosing business sectors, products or services or brands they want to see. Esber saw potential for subscribers to use the app for free or get paid for accepting more advertising. 

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