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Help stop anonymous apps like Yik-Yak, After School, and Slam High by changing Apple and Google's app rules

This petition had 4,798 supporters

Recently, a new trend in social media has has taken over middle schools and high schools around the country: anonymous messaging apps. These apps allow users to post anonymous comments that can be viewed and “liked” by other users in the same vicinity, and almost instantly after each app launches they become havens for bullying, rumor-spreading, hate speech, and even threats of violence -- mostly focused on other young students.

Our names are Juliana and Elizabeth, and we know this is happening because it has happened to us and in our schools, and we want it to stop. That is why we are asking the Apple App Store and Google Play to update their guidelines to require stricter standards for these types of apps.

We have both seen first hand the sort of disgusting behavior that takes place on these apps, and the real world consequences of the ability to anonymously threaten and bully other students.

Yik Yak, the largest and most popular of these apps, has been cited in multiple cases of suicide and attempted suicide by minors because of the bullying they received through the app.

Another anonymous app called After School recently led to a lockdown at a high school in Michigan after an anonymous threat of a school shooting was posted to the app.

These examples are not insignificant -- these apps are making money while actively promoting slander, gay-bashing, hate mongering, sexual harassment, physical bullying, cyber-bullying, suicide, self-harm, racism, school violence, child pornograpy, and distribution of pornograpy to minors.

We have both attempted to work directly with the creators of these apps to change their community standards and terms of service to more directly implement stronger safety and anti-bullying policies that reflect their commitment to keeping their platform free of this kind of behavior, but so far the people behind the services have remained silent.

It makes sense -- Yik Yak, After School, and all of the other apps like them claim that they are targeting people over 17, but the reality is that a large portion of their users are younger teens, and that means that a lot of their profits are coming directly from this sort of horrible bullying, harassment, and threatening behavior.

But Apple and Google can do more to stop this from happening. Currently, the App Review guidelines for the Apple App Store read in part that, “Apps that require users to share personal information, such as email address and date of birth, in order to function will be rejected.” While this practice had good intentions, the rise of these sort of anonymous apps has changed the game too much to make this policy acceptable.

Apple and Google have both done a great job at combating hateful and bullying apps before, and it is time they take a stand again.

These apps have the potential to be extremely dangerous, and with no way to identify posters it makes it incredibly difficult for schools and law enforcement to find people who post threats, or whose bullying comments lead to violence or suicide.

That is why we are asking Apple and Google to join the fight to end cyberbullying, and overhaul their app approval guidelines to make sure that anonymous apps like these are not used to hurt, bully, or threaten anyone.

Apple and Google: we urge you to take a stand to protect your millions of users. There will always be flaws in social media, but we know that if you’re willing to act on behalf of this petition you will help to stamp out cyberbullying, and make the online experience more beneficial for your millions of users. Thank you in advance for your time, and support.

Bullying is too big a problem to ignore. WIll you join us?   

Today: Juliana Davis and is counting on you

Juliana Davis and Elizabeth Long needs your help with “Google, Inc: Help stop anonymous apps like Yik-Yak, After School, and Slam High by changing Apple and Google's app rules”. Join Juliana Davis and and 4,797 supporters today.