A New After School: How We’ve Changed Three Years After Our First Launch

November 14, 2017

Time flies! It’s been three years since After School first debuted in the App Store.

When Michael Callahan and Cory Levy launched the first version of After School in November 2014, they didn’t know what to expect. “We honestly didn’t know how teens would react to After School and how quickly it would catch on,” says Levy. “Early tests went well, the design was strong, and it was all based on a concept built around what teens wanted—but you still never know until it’s out there. We wanted to grow slow and thought we would get a few thousand users in the first months and make improvements as we collected feedback.”

It didn’t grow slowlyTwo weeks after launch, the app was trending in the App Store and 200,000 teens were using it. The app was being called “controversial” due to reports of  bullying and “stirring up trouble.” Online petitions were even created, calling for it to be shut down.

In April of 2015, a new iOS version of After School was released followed by a full Android release. Three years after the test launch, After School has evolved. The company has grown in staff to more than 15 full-time employees in San Francisco and two internationally-based moderation teams that support millions of users in all 50 states. Here are six additional ways After School has changed over the past three years:

User and Network Growth 

Social networks grow with their users, and After School has benefitted from the involvement of millions of amazing teens across the country who participate in micro-networks with other users at their school. Being in more than 85% of U.S. high schools, we’ve learned how different each network is because of the unique qualities every teen brings to their community.

The truth is, the larger our networks grow, the better it becomes. From teens who want to help After School by becoming interns, to the thousands of suggestions and helpful messages of feedback and support, our users are extremely impactful in improving their community, and After School as a whole.

Advanced Moderation

After School’s moderation helps us keep each network safe and positive and protect our users from harmful content. Our technical and human moderation processes and procedures are now fundamental parts of who we are and how we operate. We use moderation to filter out posts that are in violation of our Community Guidelines and Zero Tolerance Policy against bullying and threats.

One-Report User-Reporting

Unlike other networks, every user on After School can report and instantly remove a post. Although After School uses advanced moderation, some posts may be offensive to users that are not in direct violation of our Community Guidelines. This feature allows students of a school’s network to actively moderate it and remove content they are uncomfortable with.

New One-of-a-Kind Features

After School began with a single feature–a message board that allowed users to share text-based posts alongside GIFs or images with other students at their school. We built and released additional features to help teens better connect and share with their school, safely.

Photo Roll, Guess Who, Savage, Pick a Side, and more have all been released over the past three years, we continue to improve the app everyday and we’re not slowing down. The updated After School App is now available in the App Store and we plan to continue to release awesome and responsible features that improve the lives of our users continually.

Our Team

After School has grown from a handful of employees to a team of over 15 at our headquarters in San Francisco; After School’s networks are supported by teams of trained moderators, viewing app content and keeping our networks safe and positive around the clock.

Learn more about our team and career opportunities at After School here.

Community Impact

After School was created to have a positive social impact on the world. We’ve created and participated in events and movements that we believe have that potential. These efforts include cyberbullying prevention, suicide prevention, civic engagement, crisis management, volunteering, and promoting digital citizenship, and our own series of events called Social Media Safety in Schools (SMSS). Partners of After School include DoSomething.org, Crisis Text Line, Youth Service America, ConnectSafely, Countable, Hey U.G.L.Y., PeaceFirst, Data.world, Ad Council, and iCanHelpline.org, #ICANHELP, and StopBullying.org.

Contact After School at Press@AfterSchoolApp.com.

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