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Posted by Margaret Rouse
Yik Yak is a microblogging app that allows people to post messages (yaks) without user names; the mobile app aggregates and presents the posts of users within a 1.5 mile radius as a streaming data feed.
Users can reply to messages anonymously and vote posts and replies up or down. The app combines instant messaging and GPS technologies to enable posting within the specified geographical area. Geofencing be used to block Yik Yak within specified areas.
Yik Yak features include:
After Yik Yak launched in 2013, it was criticized for providing an anonymous channel forcyberbullying. Multiple high-profile incidents led the developers to block the app near high schools and middle schools the following year.
Although Yik Yak enables anonymous posting, that doesn't mean that messages can't be traced back to their sources. Users are required to provide a phone number for sign up and Yik Yak stipulates that they can provide police with user IP addresses, GPS coordinates, device details and data and time for each message if supported by a search warrant, court order or subpoena. As a result, Yik Yak users have been arrested for making threats of violence in their posts.
According to some security and privacy experts, what Yik Yak offers is really pseudoanonymity -- the appearance of anonymity, but not the reality.
See a brief introduction to Yik Yak:
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