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Whisper's editor-in-chief leaving the company after privacy scandal

Whisper's editor-in-chief leaving the company after privacy scandal

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Anonymous sharing app Whisper has lost its editor-in-chief. Capital New York reports that Neetzan Zimmerman has left the company, a change that's reflected in his Twitter bio as well. He and others were suspended in October amid accusations that the company was secretly tracking users.

Editorial staff was suspended last year after privacy controversy

Whisper allows users to post confessional notes and pictures anonymously; its attraction is the chance to share gossip or unburden yourself without judgment, like a digital PostSecret. But last year, The Guardian ran a series of articles accusing Whisper of tracking users' locations without their consent and even keeping tabs on specific people: an unnamed employee reportedly said that the company would track one member, a "sex-obsessed lobbyist," for "the rest of his life."

Zimmerman denied these reports, calling them "a pack of vicious lies." But they were enough to convince Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) to ask for answers from the company, requesting details about its privacy policy. CEO Michael Heyward responded, asserting that the company had been misrepresented but saying he had opened an investigation on the accusations — and that he would fire any employee who had told The Guardian that it would track someone for life.

Is the departure related to the Guardian reports, or indicative of larger changes at Whisper? We don't know. Zimmerman, who served as Gawker's "editor of the internet" before leaving for Whisper last year, has not commented publicly on his departure. But Heyward says that it's not the direct result of its investigation. "We conducted an internal review that found no wrongdoing," he said in a statement to The Verge. "Nevertheless Neetzan is no longer with the company. We wish him well in the future and can't wait to see what he does next."

Update January 14th 6PM ET: Added statement from Whisper CEO Michael Heyward.