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This article was published on February 13, 2014

Frontback for iOS gets improved notifications, a self-timer tool, 24/7 content moderation, and more

Frontback for iOS gets improved notifications, a self-timer tool, 24/7 content moderation, and more
Ken Yeung
Story by

Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startup Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startups, parties, and interesting people. Follow him on Twitter, on Facebook, and Google+.

Frontback has released new statistics about its app’s performance to date. Among its many revelations, the app is now seeing a 33 percent week-over-week growth rate globally, with three times the number of new users from outside the US versus inside. Interestingly, its three biggest international markets happen to be Japan, Brazil, and China — three countries that are in the top 10 of mobile usage in the world.

In addition, a new version of Frontback is now available in the App store offering several updates, including a new notification feature, a self-timer tool, global feed, 24/7 content moderation, and more.

Building a dedicated community

When it comes to activity within Frontback, it’s apparent that the service has some highly engaged individuals. The company says that in the last month alone, there were more than 5 million views generated. The popularity of the platform is so high that it has attracted the attention of noted personalities such as Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, celebrities Snoop Dogg, Ashton Kutcher, and MC Hammer, along with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and YouTube sensation iJustine.

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 1.30.17 AM

Frontback started in July 2013 as an offshoot service following the failure of Checkthis. Some may have considered it to be a “selfie” app, but the company refutes the claims, instead suggesting that it’s a storytelling social network. In its current state, Frontback has created an amazing camera app, but now with its dedicated and passionate community, it needs to evolve to help users do more than just snap photos of themselves and what they’re seeing.

Amid the crowded marketplace of photo-related apps like Instagram, Hipstamatic/Oggl, Vine, Camera+, and others, Frontback says that it remains committed to its initial vision: to allow users to tell their story through the use of imagery. When asked what prevents market leaders from directly competing against Frontback, the company replied that it’s their community. Unfortunately its technology is indefensible, so it is relying on its user base culture to help ward off any encroachment.

Frontback says that it’s seeing the engagement rate increase three-fold since it launched in July with the average user liking 20 posts per week. And while these may look like impressive numbers, lets not forget that the raw figures have not been provided to us, so take these statistics with a grain of salt.

Just how will Frontback make money? It’s not worrying about that right now. The company tells us that it’s working to get critical mass with its community.

Introducing Frontback version 1.7

With the release of version 1.7, users will receive many important features in order to keep them safe and have a better browsing experience. Included in the update is an enhanced notification view. In previous versions, you only received a ping when you had a new follower. Now, the feature has been enhanced so that you’ll find out when someone likes your photo, friends you, posts a response, and more — Frontback affectionately dubs this #StalkerMode.


Additionally, a new mode has been added that will help users snap photos using the front-facing camera on the iOS device. Users can activate the self-timer feature that will automatically capture a photo within five seconds of pressing the shutter button. If you want to take two photos using the front-facing camera, you can enable the timer for both shots. Frontback says this has been the most requested feature — as it turns out, some users were having difficulties trying to capture selfie-type photos when there were multiple individuals in the picture.

In keeping with its vision of being a storyteller, the latest version also has a discover tab to help users find new captures from anyone around the world.

One of the last major features to be added in is the 24/7 content moderation feature. In an attempt to ensure that the community is safe and secure, Frontback has spent “a lot of money” to make sure that there’s someone reviewing all of the content going into the service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All moderation capabilities are being done by at least a couple of human beings. The company tells us that 90 percent of all images in Frontback can be reviewed within 5 to 10 minutes.

Frontback will always err on the side of letting the community police itself. It has affixed a link in each post that will allow anyone to flag something for review due to its abusive nature. It’s important to note that all reviews will be based on the imagery, not the captions that accompany it.

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that there are some minor updates also being made to Frontback, including:

  • The ability to change your username and update your profile photo.
  • Simple-to-use privacy options.
  • A new iOS 7 redesign to help you navigate through feeds quickly.
  • Deeper Facebook integration to help you discover friends using Frontback.

All of the above updates are for the iOS app. An Android version has yet to be announced.

➤ Frontback for iOS

Photo credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

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