Diego De Jesus
A new social media app called Yik Yak has become popular among the FSC student body. Yik Yak is an app where users can anonymously make location-based posts within a five-mile radius.
Yik Yak was created by Brooks Buffington and Tyler Droll in 2013 but was deleted in 2017 after a large decline in its user base.
There were claims that people abused anonymity to make offensive posts, leading to a drastic decline in usage in 2015.
Yik Yak allows users to type out posts, send them, and receive feedback through likes or dislikes from fellow users. After that, the community determines if the post stays. Posts get deleted if they get five downvotes.
On Aug. 16, Yik Yak announced that it would be returning on Apple devices. The app had trended and reached fourth on the app store.
Many students at Florida Southern College have been part of this trend.
Some students have become concerned due to the anonymous aspect of the app and how users can post about anything, even potentially misinformation.
One of these students is Blake Loughrey, who shared his opinion on the app and some recent posts.
“Personally, I believe nothing good will come from Yik Yak, it’s a platform that encourages fake news regardless of how the company presents itself,” Loughrey said. “Some people may say it encourages people to be able to speak exactly how they feel, but it actually spreads lies and rumors with fewer chances of having any consequences.”
Loughrey went on to say that the things said on Yik Yak could destroy the reputation of people and organizations indiscriminately.
At Florida Southern College specifically, organizations and people have been name-dropped. However, these posts remain on the feed due to the number of likes they get from users.
Joseph Boticello is another student who shared their opinion on Yik Yak and why they downloaded it in the first place.
“It was becoming popular. So I felt a certain peer pressure to download it and see what the hype was about,” Boticcello said. “I think the app is incredibly toxic. It warps people based on the sort of obligation of involvement.”
Before its dissolution, there were many middle schools, high schools and universities that reported offensive and threatening posts made on the app towards individuals and organizations.
As a result, geofences were established by Maponics, a company specializing in drawing geographic borders in middle and high school zones.
Geofences are digital fences that inhibit access to certain utilities. In this case, the owners established geofences in middle and high school zones specifically because of the cyberbullying issue and because Yik Yak is meant for college students and older.
Now, on their official site, Yik Yak advertises itself as a social media app that allows its users to connect with fellow users anonymously. There’s also an emphasis on its return from deletion four years ago and that it’s the same app as before.
Yik Yak’s website also emphasizes user guidelines and mental health resources to ensure users are able to enjoy the app.
Many students have downloaded Yik Yak.
Although it’s unavailable on Android devices, there are plans to allow android users to access it soon.