Los Angeles

A social media app which promises anonymity and claims to be the safest place on the internet is spying on its users and tracking their locations, it has been claimed.

Whisper, which urges people to reveal intimate details about their lives to others, has been accused of monitoring the whereabouts of its users - including some who have specifically requested not to be followed. There are claims a team at the company is tracking users it thinks are newsworthy - including military personnel, people working at Disney and a 'sex-obsessed lobbyist' working in Washington DC.

The company, which has its headquarters in Los Angeles, has already hit back at the reports, with the editor-in-chief Neetzan Zimmerman taking to Twitter to describe them as being 'riddled with outright lies'.

Rejecting any wrongdoing, it told the newspaper that it 'does not follow or track users' and said it was false to suggest it was monitoring people without its consent.

Whisper, set up two years ago, has become popular with young people around the world - especially in the U.S, with estimates suggesting people send 2.6million messages a day. Earlier this year, the firm was valued at more than $200million.

Users, who do not have a public identity on the app, post short messages superimposed over pictures.

But the Guardian claims that some are being tracked despite choosing to disable the app's geolocation features.

It reports that once users have opted out of geolocation services, the company can extract their rough location using IP data from their smartphones on a targeted 'case-by-case' basis. 

The Guardian claims to have gathered information during a three-day visit to the company's headquarters.

The newspaper says that CEO Michael Heyward recently described the app as the 'safest place on the internet'.

It says Whisper has acknowledged it researched locations of people who they considered were sending out newsworthy messages - adding that this was typically done using GPS data.

But Whisper said it did not store usernames, phone numbers or personally identifiable information.

But in a statement sent to the Business Insider, a Whisper spokesman said: 'Whisper does not collect nor store any personally identifiable information from users and is anonymous.

'There is nothing in our geolocation data that can be tied to an individual user and a user’s anonymity is never compromised.

'Whisper does not follow or track users. The Guardian’s assumptions that Whisper is gathering information about users and violating user’s privacy are false.'

Whisper spokeswoman Tracy Akselrud told The Washington Post  that the company was not sharing 'specific user data with any organisation' but had been working with the Defense Department as part of research into post-traumatic stress disorder.

MailOnline has yet to receive a response from the company following a request this morning.