Employees of under-fire social media app Whisper have been placed on administrative leave while the company carries out an internal investigation into allegations that it tracks user movements without permission.
The company has been in a feud with the Guardian newspaper since a report was published by the title claiming that the app monitors users who have asked not to be followed, contrary to claims that the anonymous posting app is the “safest place on the internet”.
Executives at the company have fiercely denied the accusations and have vowed to set the record straight, although the Guardian is standing by its story.
According to sources at the Guardian and Pando, one of the suspended employees includes Whisper editor-in-chief Neetzan Zimmerman, who last week tweeted that the Guardian would “regret” posting the story.
Michael Heyward, co-founder and CEO of Whisper, released a statement saying: “As I have said, we strive to do right by all our users, and we continue to look into the unattributed quotes in the Guardian’s stories.
“We have placed members of the editorial team involved with the Guardian’s visit on leave, pending the results of our internal review.
“Neetzan’s reaction to the Guardian allegations has taken away from the substance of the issue, which is that much of the Guardian’s reporting on this issue has been highly misleading or just plain wrong.”
As a result of the Guardian report, Whisper has been summoned by the US Senate committee on commerce, science and transportation to provide a briefing and documents.