By Raegan Turner I Staff Writer
A new social networking app called Friends has been designed and launched by a team that includes Baton Rouge senior Hunter Freeman. Since its release on Thursday, Friends has gained over 1,000 users. The app, which links people through their friends’ network, was designed in order to help users make connections and initiate genuine relationships.
Freeman is one of the co-founders of the Friends app. He lists finding business partners and supporters, sharing music or other art forms, as well as just meeting new companions as some of the possible ways to utilize the app. This multi-purpose design, along with the way users are united with one another explains why the app is notably different from other forms of social media.
“We thought that making another app that uses an impersonal algorithm the way Tinder, Bumble and other similar apps do was not the answer. Those algorithms don’t know who you are — your friends know who you are. So, instead of an impersonal algorithm or a computer, you can let your friends control who you match with,” Freeman said.
After downloading the app and creating a profile, users invite their friends to do the same. Once they have also joined, users can see explore their acquaintances. In order to connect with others one has discovered, Friends users use their profiles to request to friend or match with that person.
Simply making connections was not only concern of the Friends creators. They envisioned an app that was safer than other networking entities. Freeman described how Friends could be revolutionary in making reaching out more secure.
“This app could change people’s lives because it introduces a safer way to meet new people. With all those other match-making apps you meet new people, but you don’t really know who those people are; they’re strangers,” Freeman said. “You can meet someone because you swiped right on them and they swiped right on you, but when you meet up with them they could be crazy. This way, you can meet someone through someone you already know — you’ll feel safer meeting that person.”
Freeman’s older brother, Zachary Freeman, works alongside Hunter as another co-founder of Friends. Zachary graduated from Duke University in 2015 and is now an employee at Bernhard Capital. A situation in which he had to look through all of a girl’s friends in order to find a suitable date for one of his friends was the catalyst of the app’s development. This situation is the process the creators of Friends are trying to mimic yet simplify.
“If you think about how most people meet their significant other, or the best way to get your next job, or how best friends are introduced, it usually happens through your network of friends. So, we’re bringing this widely-adopted concept in the real word to the digital world,” Freeman said.
Both Freeman brothers are part of a larger team of ten that includes Baylor graduates Gill Walker and Kenzie Chakara, as well as another Freeman brother. They have recently released their app on the App Store and will have an Android version available for download this year. To get further connected with the Friends app, download it on the App Store, visit their website or follow them on Instagram @thefriendsapp.