Yik Yak allows users to anonymously post anything they want. This has, in the past, led to students using it to threaten and intimidate other students. It has even cause a South Orange County school to go into lack down. Recently, Yik Yak has tried to rehab their image and impose some safety controls. They have geo-fenced out high schools and below. They claim their app is intended for college students only.
“If there is a questionable post, we are on the safe side. We have a full moderation team on it 24/7. If a post gets five down votes, it gets taken off the feed,” Cam Mullen, lead community developer for Yik Yak said.
“We have filters for words of racism, homophobia, cyberbullying, and people’s names. If it falls into one of those categories it gets taken off immediately, within one minute.”
Yik Yak also has strong control over who gets to use the app. “It’s for college students and up. We have geofenced and blocked off areas around high schools and middle schools,” Mullen said.
The app was originally tested among high school students as well, however, they proved to be too immature and emotionally unstable to handle the app.
While the app is anonymous and does not take any personal information from its users, the company does what they can to aid in situations of misconduct.
“When there is a threat, we provide all the information possible such as location of posts, other yaks, and it puts the story together of who the person is for the local authority,” Mullen said.
Yik Yak has worked to maintain control over the app, and takes precautions to ensure that it is not abused. As the app continuously grows in popularity, it is constantly improving and evolving to become a safe media source for young adults.
Cyber Safety Cop's take:
Parents of teens should not allow their children to have Yik Yak. The user agreement requires that they be at least 17 years old. Secondly, the anonymity and lack of accountability on the user makes this app too dangerous for teens.