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Formspring was a question-and-answer-based social media platform established in 2009 by Ade Olonoh, the founder of online form builder Formstack. Formspring was rebranded as in 2013, now defunct.

As of August 1, 2015, Formspring had become a portal of Twoo; Humor Rainbow Inc. has not disclosed whether or not the original website contents and data still exist.


Formspring was launched in Indianapolis, Indiana in November of 2009 by Ade Olonoh, the founder of online form builder Formstack.[1]Olonoh noticed that a vast majority of Formstack users were using the web service to create "ask me anything" or AMA forms. He decided to launch a separate site designed for this specific purpose. At the time of launch Formspring was referred to by its full URL,, to differentiate it from Formstack (which was also named Formspring at that time) due to the fact that the original Formstack URL at the time was registered as[2] Within the website's first 45 days of operation, gained 1 million registered users which prompted Ade Olonoh to change the URL and branding from to Formstack (with as the updated URL) in an effort to further growth and avoid confusion between the two sites.

Following the expedient growth Formspring soon branched off into a separate company and moved to San Fransisco, California with a designated team and pool of resources. [3] The website's rapid rise in popularity prompted a number of other websites to implement similar features to Formspring's core functionality, such as and Tumblr.[4] Announced on June 3, 2010, Formspring began a major site redesign which altered and updated every aspect of the website.[5]

On January 15, 2010, Formspring raised $255,000 in seed funding. Just over one month after receiving seed funding, on March 18, 2010, Formspring raised $2,500,000 from a large group of angel investors, including SV Angel, Lowercase Capital, Kevin Rose, and Dave Morin.[6]

Formspring announced that it had reached 25 million users on June 28, 2011. Also in June 2011, the website and application rolled out features that allowed for celebrities to engage with fans more directly, which included the ability for celebrities and public figures to get their accounts verified.[7] Celebrity and public figure users of Formspring were able to be discovered through the site's "Formspring Favorites" section. This was used as a directory for unverified Formspring users to sort verified accounts by categories such as music, comedy, and other types of entertainment. In November 2011, the company partnered with media outlets such as MTV, Hearst, Funny or Die, and The Huffington Post. These media partnerships were accompanied by a new feature, "Interest Categories", that asked users to follow interest-related categories including music, humor, celebrity gossip, and gaming. Users could choose publications within each of the six categories with which they'd like to stay in touch, and those publications would then ask them questions that can include links, embedded videos, and photos.[8]

Closure and Rebranding

Formspring announced it would be closing over the months of March and April 2013. The reason for the closure was that it had "been challenging to sustain the resources needed to keep the lights on".

According to the announcement[9] made by founder and CEO Ade Olonoh, asking questions on Formspring would be disabled on March 31, 2013, and the entire site would be shut down permanently on April 15, 2013, after which, all content on the site would be deleted:

Formspring launched in November 2009 as a unique way for people to have engaging conversations about anything. Eventually reaching over 30 million registered users and 4 billion posts, Formspring grew beyond my wildest dreams to become an important part of how people interact online.

I’m grateful to each of you that helped make the site better by asking questions and posting responses. None of this would have been possible without you. Through the community you created, we’ve met new people, strengthened relationships, opened our minds to different points of view, and made each other smile.

Unfortunately, and with great sadness, I must announce that Formspring is shutting down. While we’ve had great success in reaching a broad audience, it’s been challenging to sustain the resources needed to keep the lights on.

Sunday, March 31st will be the last day you’ll be able to ask questions or post content on Formspring. You’ll be able to export your responses from now through Monday, April 15th, after which the site and apps will go offline, and any content will be permanently deleted.

You can export the responses you’ve posted by following these steps:

Log into your account and visit Click the export button When your export is ready you’ll receive an email Visit again to download a zip file with your data

Thanks again for all the smiles.


Ade Olonoh, Founder and CEO.

On March 31, 2013, an updated statement was released by Ade Olonoh regarding the status of Formspring. Posted to the company's WordPress blog, the announcement[10] stated: "Great news! We have a last-minute deal in the works that will help keep Formspring up. More details to follow in the coming week."

A statement on the main page was issued on May 8, 2013, announcing; "5/8/13 – Great news friends, Formspring has been saved and is now under new management. Get ready for some cool and exciting new features. Stay tuned for more updates and happy posting!!". Shortly after, in May 2013, acquired the assets of Formspring. was officially launched in beta in September 2013 and launched publicly in November 2013.

As of August 1, 2015, the website has become a portal of Twoo, a social discovery and rating platform.

Platform Mechanics and Features

Users of Formspring created a personal profile as a means to invite other users to ask any question about the profile holder. While logged in, users could privately follow other profiles. Registered users and accounts could additionally ask questions of their followers from the homepage. Similar to an email inbox, a list of pending or unanswered questions were displayed on the private dashboard of the profile holder. also asked one question per day, aptly named "Formspring Question of the Day" which was shown flashing in Formspring users' inbox automatically. Formspring added a "smile" button in January 2011, which users could utilize similarly to the like button on Facebook.

In January of 2012, Formspring launched additional features on the website and mobile application. One of the new features, "Smile Sort", provided the option to filter and sort the homepage feed to show the most popular responses to questions asked, as indicated by the number of likes or "smiles" received on the response. This added functionality sought to allow users more control over their homepage feeds and grant them the ability to curate the best content on the site and platform. In addition to granting users the ability to see their top "smiled" responses, this new feature also allowed Formspring users to view the top responses from other users, as well as the most "smiled" responses to a question that was asked to multiple users and accounts at one time.

"Smile Sort" feature. Captured January 9,2012

The second feature included in this expansion was the added functionality that gave Formspring users the option to decide if they wanted to follow the accounts of other users either publicly or privately. As a part of this new feature, users of Formspring were able to then view the number of other accounts and users that followed their account and the accounts of others. The company stated that this feature was created with the intent to allow users of Formspring the ability to get to know their community better and ask more direct questions to their followers, with the added benefit of curtailing broad "spam" questions. [11]

Mobile Application

In addition to the browser-hosted website, in September 2011 Formspring launched an application for iPhone users on the Apple application store [12]. The iOS application included the ability to post pictures, as an answer or as part of a question. In addition to the ability to post or reply with photos, a unique feature of the application allowed users to ask and respond to questions of their iPhone contacts, even if those contacts were not registered users of Formspring. Several months after the iPhone application was added to the Apple application store, Formspring added to their mobile presence with an application for Android users in January of 2012 [13].


Formspring became seen as a controversial website and service shortly after its rise to popularity. The site was commonly associated with harassment and cyberbullying, especially amongst teenagers, due in part to the anonymity that Formspring offered users of the site.

In February 2010, a physical altercation between several students attending a high school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, started after an argument about Formspring. Authorities were referring to this incident as a "near riot", which caused the incident to receive significant media attention.[14] On March 12, 2010, a news article, which was later found to be a hoax, falsely reported that Formspring creators were planning to release personal information about its users via Twitter and other social media platforms.[15] Formspring released a statement[16] on its official blog regarding the hoax article: was a victim of a cyber fraud launched today. This attack, created to look like an Associated Press news release, is entirely fictitious.

All users should know that our promise remains, We are committed to protecting their privacy and online experience as agreed in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, and have no intention of revealing the identities of anonymous users on the site.


John Wechsler, President,

Less than two weeks after the hoax article, on March 22, 2010, Alexis Pilkington, a 17-year-old New York high school student, committed suicide. Her suicide was attributed in part to the series of negative messages that she received on Formspring leading up to her death.[17] Shortly after, a local but well-publicized boycott of Formspring began.[18]


In February 2011, an incident that was allegedly prompted by cyberbullying on Formspring resulted in the suicide of 15-year-old Natasha MacBryde from Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, United Kingdom. The British Transport Police made a statement regarding Natasha Macbryde's death in which they name Formspring as a "significant contributor".[19]

Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old student from Williamsville North High School in New York state, was found dead on September 18, 2011, in an apparent suicide by hanging after repeated incidents of bullying in real life and on Formspring. Rodemeyer's youtube video, "It Gets Better", specifically called out Formspring as a factor in contributing to the anti-gay bullying impacting his life. This incident prompted numerous national news stories and public figures such as Lady Gaga and Barak Obama spoke to their outrage with the situation.[20]

In March 2011, Formspring joined a conference at the White House on Bullying Prevention along with Facebook, MTV, and Survey Monkey. At this conference, Formspring announced their partnership with The MIT Media Lab to develop new approaches to mitigate cyberbullying. One of these approaches utilized AI to detect and filter out hateful messages as well as to understand the intent behind them.[21]In January 2012, Formspring also announced that it was one of the sponsors of the Great American NO BULL Challenge, a nationwide video contest that encourages teenagers to stand up to bullying.[22]

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Watkins, Cap (2010-06-03). "Did Formspring get a facelift?". blog. Archived from the original on 18 June 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2010.

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O’Dell, Jolie. "Celeb Q&A: Formspring Adds Special Features for the Famous". Mashable. Retrieved 9 January 2012.

"Formspring Favorites". Retrieved 9 January 2012.

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"The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies". Fast Company. Retrieved 13 February 2012.

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Lewin, Tamar (May 5, 2010). "Teenage Insults, Scrawled on Web, Not on Walls". The New York Times.

Owens, Dennis (February 19, 2010). "School Disputes Claims of Near-Riot". abc27 News. Archived from the original on 2010-06-11.

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"Can you tell me who asked me an anonymous question?". 2010-08-10. Archived from the original on 2012-06-18. Retrieved 2010-12-14.

"Family, friends shocked at cyberposts after teen's death". Newsday. 2010-03-23. Retrieved 2010-11-06.

"Alexis Pilkington's friends vow to boycott social networking site". Newsday. 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2010-11-06.

"Teenager in rail suicide was sent abusive message on social networking site". The Daily Telegraph. London. 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2011-09-16.

"'Beautiful & talented' teenager took her own life – inquest". 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2011-07-25.

"Teenager struggled with bullying before taking his life". Buffalo News. 2011-09-20. Retrieved 2011-09-20.

"PRESIDENT AND FIRST LADY CALL FOR A UNITED EFFORT TO ADDRESS BULLYING". The White House. 2011-03-10. Retrieved 18 August 2011.

O'Dell, Jolie. "Formspring Takes a Stand Against Bullies — With Help From MIT". Mashable. Retrieved 18 August 2011.

"Introducing the Great American NO BULL Challenge". Formspring Blog. Retrieved 5 February 2012.

Binns, Amy (2014) "Twitter City and Facebook Village: teenage girls' personas and experiences influenced by choice architecture in social networking sites", Journal of Media Practice Vol. 15, Iss. 2, 2014 free version available at

Binns, Amy (2013) Facebook’s Ugly Sisters: Anonymity and Abuse on Formspring and Media Education Research Journal . Volume 4, Issue 1. ISSN 2040-4530

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