Four years after it was taken down, an app that lets people within a 5-mile radius talk to each other secretly has been brought back to life.
When it came out in 2013, Yik Yak quickly became the ninth most popular social media app in the US, with 1.8 million downloads by September 2014.
Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington, two college students, made the app. It was a hit with American teens, but it was also used for cyberbullying and dangerous threats.
Because of fake bomb threats on the app, students had to leave schools like Palisades Charter High School (PCHS) in Los Angeles and Russellville High School in Alabama.
Before PCHS was evacuated, a parent told NBC News that the app “let’s people post without worrying about getting in trouble.”
At the University of Georgia in 2014, Ariel Omar Arias was caught and charged with two felonies of terroristic threats after using the app to say he would attack a building on campus.
Arias said the post, which said, “If you want to live, don’t be at the MLC at 12:15,” was a joke.
In a tweet on Monday, Nashville, Tennessee-based Yik Yak Inc. said the app would be back. The app can only be downloaded by iPhone users in the US right now. The business did say, though, that it planned to bring Yik Yak to more places and gadgets.
The new version of Yik Yak has a long list of Community Guardrails that explain what users can’t say in a yak (a post). These rules are often not very clear.
It’s against the rules for users to post “gossip,” “excessive sarcasm,” and “excessive commentary on a person’s physical attributes, character, or personal life.”
It is “most of the time” not a good idea to share license plate numbers, social security numbers, or other personal information that could be used to find out who someone is.
It is asked that users “immediately downvote and report” yaks that don’t “vibe with the Community Guardrails.”
According to the people who made the app, they “rely on our community to help make Yik Yak a constructive venue for free and productive speech.”