Stop Bullying and Harassment on the App "Yik Yak"

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Stop Bullying and Harassment on the App "Yik Yak"

This petition had 83,201 supporters

Elizabeth Long started this petition to CEO Tyler Droll and

My name is Elizabeth. I’m 19 years old, a freshman in college, and last year I tried to commit suicide. While still recovering, I started seeing messages about me on the popular anonymous messaging app Yik Yak, telling me that I should kill myself.

I was not the only one who received these types of messages, so I decided to start a petition asking the creators of the app to institute stronger community standards to prevent these types of messages. I ended up meeting Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington, the app’s creators, and telling them my story. They assured me that they would implement several new functions in the app in order to make it safe for kids.

Nearly a year later, not only have their promises to me gone unfulfilled, but new features for the app have rolled out that make it even worse.

Yik Yak allows users to post anonymous messages that are broadcast to other users close by. Then those messages can be voted up or voted down, with the most popular showing up at the top of everyone’s news feed. With the shield of anonymity, users have zero accountability for their posts, and can openly spread rumors, call classmates hurtful names, send threats, or even tell someone to kill themselves -- and all of these things were happening.

Tyler and Brooks assured me that they would implement automatic word filters that prevented slurs and hate speech from being posted to the app. Users are still able to easily post hate speech, racial slurs, homophobic slurs, and more.

Tyler and Brooks assured me that they would prevent users from being able to post messages that targeted others using their full name. Yik Yak is incredibly popular on my college campus, and I constantly see bullying posts that include other students' full names.

Tyler and Brooks assured me that any posts with threats of violence, particularly any targeting schools, would be captured and never posted publicly on the app. Two weeks ago Emory University was locked down after a mass shooting threat was successfully posted on the app.

And most frustratingly, Tyler and Brooks assured me that they would never update the app to allow photos to be posted, because letting anonymous users post photos would allow for even more vicious and targeted bullying, revenge porn posts, secretly-taken inappropriate photos of others, and more. An update to the app was released this summer that allows users to post photos.

I’m incredibly disappointed in Tyler, Brooks, and the other leaders at Yik Yak for so blatantly disregarding the safety of their users and the other young people targeted on their app. I am calling on them to immediately follow through on their promises to me and implement basic but essential safeguards to Yik Yak, and if they won’t I am calling on the Apple App Store and Google Play to remove the app from their stores. Last year Yik Yak was given over $60 million by investors to expand their business, so I know that they have the resources to make these changes happen now.

Please stand with me.

 

Petition Closed

This petition had 83,201 supporters