When Yik Yak was created it was intended to give everyone an equal voice. No one user would have an advantage over another based on followers or popularity and posts would be judged exclusively by their content. Yik Yak is a tool, but like many other tools and social media platforms, it has been used correctly by some and improperly by others. Bullying is something social media struggles with and we at Yik Yak have taken steps against bullying on the app.
In May of 2014, we placed filters in Yik Yak to identify if a post bullies, targets, or is intentionally offensive. This system has evolved over time and has led to a partnership with a company that specializes in identifying threatening or offensive content through natural language processing. This partnership will allow us to continue to refine how we identify posts that don’t belong on Yik Yak.
Almost a year ago, we made steps to keep users under the age of 17 off of Yik Yak. First, we changed the app’s age requirement to 17+ and allowed parents to block it on their children’s phones. In addition to this, we obtained the GPS coordinates of roughly 85% of all middle and high schools in the United States and placed “geofences” around them. This means that if you try to open Yik Yak on a school’s campus, it will not work. A geofence can easily be requested under the “Support” tab of yikyakapp.com.
While filters and geofences are helpful, our number one line of defense against bullying is you. Our communities and users have the power to downvote and report content that they don’t wish to see on Yik Yak. If a yak gets a collective score of -5, it is removed from the feed. A reported yak is passed through filters and is sent to our moderation team that works 24/7. They personally remove content that violate our rules or are offensive. We make reporting easy and will continue to improve this feature in the coming months.
The Yik Yak Team works hard to keep bullying off of the app, but if a post stays on the feed it is because the community has allowed it to do so. For better or worse, everyone has the ability to shape their local Yik Yak feed. A great example of this is when the professors at Colgate University flooded Yik Yak with compliments and positivity. The professors had fun, the students loved it, and they showed how Yik Yak is what the users want it to be.
With positive, helpful users, a community can make their feed into an interesting, funny, and informative place. So think about how you want Yik Yak to look, and go ride The Yak!