- A mysterious invite-only app has captured the attention of the tech industry on Twitter after a combination of three emoji — 👁👄👁 — flooded their feeds starting Thursday.
- The purpose of It Is What It Is — and whether it’s even real — is unclear. Purported users have posted screenshots on Twitter, and more than 20 young tech employees have added the app’s Twitter handle to their profiles.
- Nonetheless, the It Is What It Is team has succeeded in getting interested users to donate to a Black trans fundraiser and introducing the tech industry to 👁👄👁, which is used to express shock or disgust.
- A similar emphasis on secrecy and exclusivity is what attracted Silicon Valley to Clubhouse, an audio-chat app that debuted earlier this year and became an instant hit among its users.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Ever feel like you’re looking in on an inside joke that everyone online understands besides you? Welcome to itiswhatitis.fm.
On Thursday night, the tech industry was introduced via Twitter, en masse, to this emoji combination: 👁👄👁. Word spread about a mysterious app called “It Is What It Is,” as Silicon Valley clamored to figure out what the hype was all about and how the elite could secure their own access to the invite-only platform.
But most of us have yet to figure out what’s really going on and whether this is a real app — or something else — or merely an elaborate satire of tech marketing. The website doesn’t help explain any further: The only clickable thing on it is a box directing you to “give us ur info,” where you can enter your email to, presumably, get on the app’s waitlist.
Nonetheless, the team behind IIWII has successfully captured the tech industry’s attention ahead of whatever it has planned for Friday night at 7pm PT.
—it is what it is (@itiseyemoutheye) June 26, 2020
Both the name and the emoji associated with the app are, expectedly, based in meme culture, as Josh Constine first pointed out. The emoji can be traced back to this YouTube video from last year, and is now freely used across social platforms for “expressing surprise, shock, anger, or disgust,” according to Urban Dictionary.
The name — It Is What It Is — goes beyond a commonly used idiom. The audio from this video of a group of teens echoing these words has, since then, become a popular soundtrack for short videos on the viral app TikTok.
It’s unclear who is exactly behind the app (if that’s what it is), but more than 40 young software engineers and recent college graduates in the tech industry are displaying the app’s Twitter handle — @itsmoutheyemouth — in their profiles, with job titles like “cheerleader,” “head of fun,” “chief gay,” and “chief optometrist.” These faux titles are reminiscent of the trend on TikTok where users put “CEO of” in their account descriptions.
While the majority of tweets regarding the app have thus far been forms of trolling, and rows of 👁👄👁, users associated with the “project” also have successfully gotten excitable techies to try scoring an invite. It Is What It Is has shared links to charities supporting the Black community and trans people of color, including the Okra Project, the Lovaland Therapy Fund, and Solutions Not Punishment.
The people behind It Is What It Is seem to be onto something. The dramatic pull of exclusivity and secrecy in Silicon Valley was demonstrated earlier this year, after an invite-only audio-chat app called Clubhouse launched in beta. Although the app has just 5,000 users, it’s already valued at $100 million.
Business Insider tried to reach out on Twitter to some of the users who seem to be associated with the app. The only response we got: “It Is What It Is.”