Anonymous sharing app Whisper has doubled its number of monthly active users in seven months to 20 million.

Those users are active in 187 countries, the company said in a blog post. The company also announced that the No. 1 searched and used word on the app was “Love,” a detail that appeared to be intended to counter Whisper’s reputation as a salacious social network.

Whisper was spun out of self-destructing text messaging company TigerText in 2012 and is a popular online bulletin board for posting anonymous pictures overlaid with text confessions. The company competes with similar apps, such as Yik Yak, for attention from millennials, who want a private, sometimes gossipy social media experience rather than the more open and public sharing that Facebook and Twitter provide.

The anonymous sharing app industry got off to a dubious start when rival app Secret of San Francisco shut down in June, after sustaining accusations of slanderous postings and cyberbullying. Given the similar nature of its content, Whisper’s user growth and ability to sell advertisement to brands has been closely watched.

Instead of selling advertisements to a broad variety of brands, Whisper has focused narrowly in the last six months on selling to movie studios, whose dramatic content is well aligned with the topics discussed on the app. That strategy appears to have gotten some traction. Sponsored background images from Paramount Pictures’ horror film remake “Poltergeist,” for example, were used some 15,000 times in the first 24 hours they were made available on the app in April.

Technology reporter Garrett Reim can be reached at greim@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @garrettreim for the latest in L.A. tech news.

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