Yik Yak Loading Screen

 

Social media platform Yik Yak, known for its allowance of almost total anonymity online, has returned from a four-year hiatus. This time around, certain guardrails have been implemented on posts.

Yik Yak allows users to engage with each other across the nearest five mile radius. Originally launched in 2013, the platform’s use of anonymity was a breeding ground for toxic comments. It was taken down on April 28, 2017, and relaunched on Aug. 15, 2021.

The platform’s website now comes with a section on community guardrails, as well as a section on mental health related resources.

The new guardrails discourage users from bullying, trolling, sexual content or providing personal and other social media information while on Yik Yak. All moderation is provided by other users, as the site encourages them to “downvote and report” guardrail violations. Once a message receives five downvotes, it is removed from the platform by a moderator.

A full list of guardrails can be found on Yik Yak’s official website.

As for mental health resources, Yik Yak includes a link to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, as well as tips on what to do when other users are discussing self harm.

Kevin Agee, Missouri State University content strategist, said that while it has taken Yik Yak a few years to come back, it is just like any other social media source. He also said he has the app on his phone to monitor potential student discussion about the university. 

“The anonymity provides a sort of a unique part that other social media platforms don’t provide,” Agee said. “So that’s something that really, really sets them apart. If it’s a platform that students enjoy, they find value in it, then sure it’s no different than any other platform. You don’t have to be on everything.”

Vincent Blevins, senior math major, said he thinks the anonymity of the app is what draws people to it.

“It leads people to say things they wouldn’t say on their regular social media since their name and face isn’t associated with it,” Blevins said. “Unless they’re posting racist or homophobic content, I don’t really care if they get (the app).”

Agee said while the university is partnered with social media services Giphy and Tik Tok, there are no future plans of partnering with Yik Yak. MSU also does not discourage students from downloading the app, due to the university being public.

 

Follow Tinsley Merriman on Twitter, @merrimantinsley

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