This isn’t going to work as stated in the title, but it’s an admirable effort. 18-year-old Elizabeth Long of Atlanta Georgia has started a petition to have Yik Yak shut down. Despite its founders claiming that the app is meant for college kids, Yik Yak, the anonymous location based messaging app, has been blamed for dozens of high school threats resulting in arrests, countless cases of cyberbullying and teacher baiting, and teen parties being crashed by unruly visitors.
The petition now has over 59,000 signatures, and it’s a great message to be sending. In Elizabeth’s words:
“Instead of being a harmless and fun social network, the app has turned into a haven for bullying, threats, and hate speech, mostly focused on kids in middle school and high school. I know this, because it happened to me.
My name is Elizabeth. I’m 18 years old, and earlier this year I tried to commit suicide. While still recovering, I started seeing messages about me on Yik Yak, anonymously telling me that I should kill myself. And I am not the only one.
Teens, teachers and school administrators are ridiculed on this app everyday. Kids are telling other kids to kill themselves. This is beyond unacceptable, and it is time that we stand up and do something about it before a life is senselessly lost because of this app.”
Yik Yak has been claiming since March that it is blocking its app’s usage in high schools, but we don’t think that what they are doing is effective at all. Or perhaps they aren’t doing what they claim.
In any case, it’s a free country, and investors recently put $61 million into the company, giving them a strong incentive to remain in business. The petition has an ulterior motive – one that has an infinitely better shot at happening, and would be very welcome in our opinion:
“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.”
Kudos to Elizabeth for doing this (drop us a line!) and we wish her all the best. Teen suicide is no laughing matter, and platforms that are endangering kids who are at risk must bear some responsibility. In terms of “community standards”, it doesn’t appear that Yik Yak has any until the police get involved. It’s time for that to change.
Please forward this to a friend.
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