All over campus students are talking about the new app called Yik Yak. Users can post statuses with 200 or less characters, much like Twitter. The app asks to access your location, which allows you to see posts from places within a 1.5-mile radius. The app is free and can be downloaded on an Apple or Android device. The main difference between Twitter and Yik Yak is that everything posted to Yik Yak appears completely anonymous.
The app is full of many different kinds of posts. There are funny posts, creepy posts, weird posts, and cruel posts. Although the funny posts are no doubt hilarious, students are starting to use the anonymous app for all the wrong reasons. Specific students, sports teams, sororities, fraternities, and other organizations on campus are starting to be targeted by the posts.
The first glimpse of Yik Yak harassment took place during the freshman orientation week in August. When asked about the app, Junior OWL Kaitlyn Styer stated, “I was personally victimized by Yik Yak. As a part of my job I had to sit on the stage and talk to the incoming freshman during a presentation. It really hurt me to see that while I was trying to do my job, students were anonymously posting about me!” Another example took place during the fall rush process. Sororities and Fraternities were being targeted and a lot of false and damaging information was posted about multiple different Greek organizations.
There have been many situations around the country of students getting in trouble for what they have posted to Yik Yak. Schools and individual students have been threatened and bullied via the app, and these threats have been taken seriously. Although the app claims to be “anonymous” the posts were traced back to students and used against them in the legal process.
There have been many different petitions circulating. All of the petitions are against the app and the hate speech it encourages. By signing the petition you are agreeing that the app is used for anonymous cyber bullying and threats, and should be deleted all together. To sign a petition click here.
With finals and the end of the semester quickly approaching, students have enough on their plates. They should not have to worry about what may be posted about them or their organization by an anonymous user. Which makes us think, if Yik Yak wasn’t anonymous how many people would still post on it? Has the freedom of speech gone to far?