Are The Flames Worth It? The Truth About the Gas App

Screenshot from the Gas app on the iPhone App Store explaining the app

Screenshot from the Gas app on the iPhone App Store explaining the app

Emma Ufakacar

Gas has taken all the hype from well known social media apps. At one point, it ranked Number 1 for top free apps on the iPhone App Store, ranking it higher than TikTok, Snapchat, BeReal, Twitter, and Facebook. 


Gas is an anonymous app where you vote for your friends in a round of polls that refresh every hour. After giving the app your location, age, and gender, you can start adding friends from your school and answering polls. The Gas app is uplifting as the polls are yearbook superlatives like “who could be the star in a musical” and “the kindest person alive”. 


Gas app co founders Nikita Bier, Isaiah Turner, and Dave Schatz promote the app as a “place that makes us feel better about ourselves” (Insider). 


However, the app was believed to be linked to sex-trafficking. Teens posted messages on their TikTok and Snapchat accounts telling users to delete Gas because kids had been kidnapped across many states in the US. After this rumor spread, the App was flooded with bad reviews in the app store which caught the attention of Nikita Bier and the 4 person Gas team. They began investigating with the help of police and soon revealed to the public that this was all a hoax. 


Piedmont Police Chief Scott Singer explained, “That posting was the result of a post that was forwarded to us, which we later learned to be a bogus posting […] As a result, we talked with the CEO of Gas, and we have determined it was a bogus posting. We have removed that from our Facebook page and informed the schools of any postings that were discovered to be false” (The Washington Post).


Nikita Bier posted to Twitter on Oct, 14, 2022, “This human trafficking hoax about the Gas app has taken on a life of its own. Just got a message from a user asking why a van showed up outside of their house after installing. […] The internet cannot be tamed.” 


According to Bier, 3% of Gas app users deleted their accounts on that day alone. This false rumor that surfaced the internet caused a great negative impact on the success of the app.


After the app made its rounds, it hit Ramapo the week after Halloween. Many students downloaded Gas to get involved in the polls which many called ‘validating’. Freshman at Ramapo, Lana Jepsen talks about how she never downloaded the app but was told by many friends that she should. “No, I don’t have Gas. One of my friends told me to get it but someone else told me not to because others were saying it led to sex-trafficking. I don’t know what to believe but I decided not to get it.” The rumors about the link to sex-trafficking and kidnapping circled Ramapo pretty quickly through Snapchat stories and other communication channels.


Although the app is meant to bring people’s spirits up and increase their number of friends, Gas has many downsides as well. All social media apps have been proven to harm teens and negatively impact their lives. English teacher, Mrs. Loccke here at Ramapo talks about Gas and her uncertainty about the app, “I am always skeptical of any app that collects student data, rates students, or keeps students on their phone more…” She voiced her concern about the current generation. She also explained how many rely on social media as their connection to friends and the world around them. “All studies have shown the potential damage of apps to disrupt a teenagers confidence, relationships, and distract them from more worthwhile endeavors. I want my students to learn about themselves through face to face interactions and real life experiences that can only come when you put down your phone and connect with others.” Mrs. Loccke reveals how even though social media is a big part of our lives, it is important to unplug and experience life in reality. 


Even though Gas has been deemed safe due to its strategic components like anonymity and no direct interactions, it is important to realize how apps that are meant for validation and likes can come at a steep price. Students all throughout the world should recognize the negative impacts of social media as well as the online world and choose their social apps wisely.