Opinion

Yik Yak Should Really Shut Its Trap

Why Controversial Messaging App Needs to be Banned

By Loren Trapanese

Yik Yak is the newest addition to college campuses across the country, challenging social media with a veil of anonymity.

The app sorts out users by their location or university. There is a 1.5-mile radius in which posts can be made in the same chat. Although it is supposed to be used for basic college chat—finals and parties—users have turned it into a bashing group chat.

Is it okay for Yik Yak to be on campuses?

Yik Yak became the center of attention recently on the front page of The New York Times. 230 freshmen at East Michigan State University bashed three female professors during their lecture. The chat completely defamed the professors with use of crude, sexually explicit language.

When a teacher’s assistant approached one of the professors and showed her the discussion, she was appalled. Professor Margaret Crouch sent pictures to the university officials, requesting immediate action, claiming that she felt “sexually and verbally abused and her reputation besmirched.”

However, EMSU could not do anything due to the anonymous user profiles.

This is not the only campus that has had a bad experiene with Yik Yak. The University of North Carolina, Michigan State, Penn State, University of Texas, and Kenyon College saw one Yik Yak user propose a gang rape at the school’s women’s center.

The only way to obtain any information on a Yik Yak user is to get a subpoena, court order, or warrant. Yik Yak refuses to disclose any information unless it is a matter of emergency.

A bomb threat was made in November at Michigan State University. Student Matthew Mullen wrote, “I’m gonna (gun emoji) the school at 12:15pm tomorrow,” toward a dorm room.

Completely taking advantage of the anonymity factor, young adults think it is okay to use derogatory language filling campuses with “yakkers” discussing racist and homophobic topics.

Some universities have gone forward and used their Wi-Fi to block access to Yik Yak. However, there have been complaints that that violates freedom of speech.

On the contrary, I find it necessary to take any action on preventing Yik Yak on campuses. It is not being dealt with properly. Due to its anonymous factor, it makes it all the worse to try and take action.

Universities should not allow Yik Yak to be used on campus. It has caused a serious uproar with professors and students. When you have too much immaturity in the same group chat, things get sketchy and cause serious harm.

What users don’t understand is that it is not just an app; it is a form of social media that will never just erase. What you say stays.

It kind of reminds you of how today one would say, “You act tough because you have the computer screen to protect you,” and that is 100 percent true. Users will slander, bash, and threaten with not one care because they know that no one will come looking for them.

It is understood that initially the app was focused more for simple college discussion—go figure. But this generation can’t handle being respectful.

“Yik Yak is solely used for party discussion, events, and professor updates,” said Amanda Mazzy, a student from Oneonta State University. “Little bashing occurs, and that’s more toward the sororities and fraternities.”

Two fraternity brothers, Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington, created Yik Yak in 2013. They wanted a new type of social media that allows for students to communicate without having a constricted amount of viewers.

A consistent exchange of hateful or demeaning words amongst users, who feel that they are being attacked, can actually be a legal cause to sue for defamation. This app comes with a great deal of baggage, which should not be tolerated on college campuses.

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