Social media has fostered expectations of maximalism, hyper-beauty, and happiness, but this digital veneer has left some users craving connection over aesthetics. Gas is an app for teenagers that peels back the previous tropes of social media by focusing on cultivating positivity in a smaller social network.
Gas was released in August 2022, and according to the Wall Street Journal, Gas was the top downloaded social media app in the Apple App Store. This is impressive in and of itself, but is especially noteworthy considering the app is only available in 12 states. Gas says on its website that this will increase with its server capacity, but the company didn’t respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment on which 12 states have access to the app or when it will expand to other states.
The essence of Gas sees users anonymously answering multiple poll questions like “Who is most likely to dress up as the poop emoji for Halloween?” and “Bodies every new sport they try,” which feature their friends as the options—the app calls this getting “gassed up.” App users can collect coins for answering poll questions, which allow them to unveil who answered certain questions about them and unlike other popular social media apps, there is no ability to direct message other users.
While anyone can sign up, the app is more catered toward teen users, especially given that those who sign up can select their high school to create a friends list composed of only their classmates. Gas claims that location data is only used once at sign up to help users pick their high school, and app co-creator Nikita Bier told the Wall Street Journal that the data is not even stored on the platform’s servers.
Gas appears to be a part of a new wave of social media apps that emphasize authenticity and smaller social networks—like BeReal, the platform that only lets you post once a day within a two minute window. In addition to its bare-bones interface and limited interaction between users, the questions on Gas all skew positive, and Gas’s mission is to “create a place that makes us feel better about ourselves,” per their website. Gas was created by Isaiah Turner, Dave Schatz, and Nikita Bier, the third of which created tbh in 2017, which is an incredibly similar (but now defunct) app.