When in 2013, Facebook had to take a page down that had attracted cyberbullies that once was a place for teens to post their selfies, brothers John and Sam Shahidi knew something had to be done.
You see, that specific Facebook page had gained 17,000 photos and the comment section started to become a place where cyberbullying manifested itself and spread like a virus.
Cyberbullying didn't just affect the teens who have posted to that page. In fact, 52% of students report being bullied on social media, most of this happening in the comment sections that many social media sites have.
John and Sam wanted to change this.
John Shahidi, CEO of Shots at VidCon. Photographer: Jordan Wright
They took their own need of wanting to be understood by others and created a plan to create their own application.
That was the birth of the photo sharing app - Shots.
The app allows a user to post photos and videos just like most photo sharing sites. However, true to its original mission, there is no comment sections, no publicly visible follower count, and nothing is anonymous.
The only direct communication a person can have with another is directly messaging them. The Shahidi brothers made it so the photos and videos posted are the main source of communication between users.
Comment sections are where cyberbullies lurk because it is easiest to indirectly attack someone's photo than go into their profile to attack them privately. Anonymity fosters bad behavior among others because some people don't understand that there are real people that read the hateful things that are sent to them and make the bully feel that since their name isn't connected to it, they won't get into trouble.
Visible follower counts leads to anxiety because people are always in competition with others to gain more followers than them and can even be criticized for how low (or high) that number is. By taking away the comment section, anonymity, and follower count, it dramatically lowers the chances of someone getting cyberbullied. As a result, it also lowers the anxiety users feel when posting on the app.
John, CEO of Shots also later became dubbed as "The King of Twitter" due to his massive influence on social media.
In all, the Shahidi brothers believe that their app stands out because it allows users to speak their mind, relating to one another without being bullied for it. They also believe that products of the future should be focused in bringing people back together and that one on one connection is what people crave more than anything now.
Other social media apps have a way of pushing people away from one another because words typed on a computer or a phone do not convey emotions like a video or photo can. One person's comment could be misunderstood by another and a virtual war is started with nasty comments being thrown from all directions.
Furthermore, they believe that in eliminating the text sections that many other social media apps have, it allows people to understand one another better. By using videos and photos, you can actually see someone behind an account instead of just words, it easier to relate to that person.
The brothers are planning to expand upon other ways for users to communicate and expression themselves in fun ways without malicious criticism from cyberbullies that have nothing better to do than bring others down.
Life is hard enough, being cyberbullied makes it even more difficult. John and Sam just want to make life a little bit more fun.