Firechat Gets Verified Accounts As Usage Skyrockets During Hong Kong Protests


Firechat, Open Garden‘s mobile chat app that uses a mesh network to let you chat with the people around you even when there is no Internet connection, has seen a huge uptick in usage wherever there is a government that wants to suppress free speech. In Hong Kong, for example, the company saw 460,000 downloads in the last week and the service hosted over 2 million chat sessions in the area. With that, Firechat usage in Hong Kong now only trails the US in the company’s stats.

Firechatfeed3One of the reasons the service is so popular during these events is that Firechat allows users to stay completely anonymous. Starting today, however, the company is also launching verified accounts for those users who do want to use their real names to make sure they aren’t impersonated. Open Garden tells me that there are only a few people in this program right now.

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