Yik Yak, yes or no: anonymous location-based social app raises concerns (COM0011, post #6)

Want to know what everyone’s saying around you? Well, Yik Yak allows you to do just that – listen to all kinds of comments within a 2.4 kilometre radius. Only you don’t know who’s saying it. And if you contribute, no one will know it was you. It’s an anonymous twitter feed that’s based your on location. And even though it’s not intended for high schools, it has become very popular among secondary and university/college students alike, with a few challenges…

For example, two California high schools were put on lock-down recently after bomb threats were posted via Yik Yak (CBC article). According to the Huffington Post, 11 college students in the US have been charged with threats of violence made through the app this past semester alone. The second challenge is a flaw that de-anonymizes users and even allows hackers to hijack someone’s account through third-party software (Softpedia article). I suppose they can look into fixing that – urgently, I hope. But the last issue is, yet again, cyber-bullying.

Recently, an 18 year-old who was encouraged through the app to end her life after a failed suicide attempt started a petition to fix or get rid of it. So far it has nearly 70,000 signatures. “The app claims to not tolerate bullying or threats, but no action is being taken to remove threatening or harmful posts, or suspend users who write them,” the petition reads.

“That is why I am calling on the inventors of the app to create a stronger set of community standards and employ a zero-tolerance policy for bullying and threats — if they don’t, we want the app removed from the Apple App Store and Google Play immediately.”

But like Snapchat, Yik Yak is taking off in popularity and just received an investment of $62 million. What do you think? Should it be banned in schools? Or are people overreacting?

Sources:

http://www.cbc.ca/newsblogs/yourcommunity/2014/11/yik-yak-is-the-latest-anonymous-messaging-app-to-cause-trouble-among-teens.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/25/yik-yak-threats-college_n_6214794.html

http://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/thousands-want-gossip-app-yik-yak-shut-down-1.2135106

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Yik-Yak-Flaw-De-anonymizes-User-Allows-Control-Over-Account-466877.shtml

http://cyberbullying.us/yik-yak/

https://www.change.org/p/tyler-droll-and-brooks-buffington-shut-down-the-app-yik-yak

3 thoughts on “Yik Yak, yes or no: anonymous location-based social app raises concerns (COM0011, post #6)

  1. Wow, I had never heard of this app. I am going to check it out and see what it is all about. I am not sure about it being banned. I was really anxious about snapchat and then I realized that I needed to be really informed and keep my children aware of the dangers that come with the internet. Freedom of speech can really only happen when there are no privacy bans etc. Until I check out this twitter feed, I am not sure how I feel. Thanks for the info.

  2. I’m with Helen – hadn’t heard of it before, but I what I read doesn’t sound positive. I don’t like the anonymous factor. Seems there are enough pranksters and bullies online today, that if you give them access to something that has a lot of reach with the ability to remain anonymous – it will be exploited. I asked my 12 year stepson about it and he hasn’t heard of it, nor did he seem interested in using it. Hard to keep up-to-speed on all this stuff. Thanks for sharing !

  3. First time hearing about the app. Sounds like a recipe for disaster if you ask me. If people can be anonymous then who knows what will happen. Its almost saying that you can say what you want and not be held responsible for any actions taken. Its a tough call. I am definitely going to check it out. I hope that the ladies in the neighbourhood don’t start using it or we may have another “The Housewives of Orange County series” in Ottawa” On the other side of the coin it could be wonderful to use in communities where people are too afraid to voice their opinion due to outside pressures etc. Hopefully there will be a happy medium. Maybe some kind of code of conduct that is required to be signed off on before opening an account. Also, I think the app should consider asking for your credentials which are kept private but are required to open an account.

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