Anonymous chat app YikYak blocks bullies by GPS restricting US schools

Anonymous chat app YikYak has blocked US schools from accessing the service with GPS restriction technology in a bid to stamp out cyber-bullying among kids.

The app, which launched in 2013, allows users to post anonymous messages to others in the nearby area but was reportedly being used by school children as a platform for bullying – with the culprits’ identities remaining hidden.

The app’s developers told BBC Newsbeat that they responded to the reports by disabling the app in US schools with geofencing technology, with the intent of also banning UK establishments in the future.

Tyler Droll, CEO and co-founder of YikYak, said: “We had to plot over 100,000 schools across the nation and then using your GPS it determines whether or not you are at a school campus.

“So if you open the app and you are in that area it will say you are at a banned area and you will not be able to use the app there.”

Working with geography analysis firm Maponicsn YikYak plotted every US school to ban them from using the app with a proximity-based restriction measure.

On the bullying, YikYak co-founder Will Haskell said: “It was almost a competition to see who could come up with the meanest thing.

“What needs to change here isn’t the apps, but the culture and the way that people react when given this opportunity for anonymity.”

Messenger apps have been asked to clean up their acts of late, earlier this year the new owner of anonymous forum, Ask.fm, said it will tackle cyber-bullying on the site – or close down.

 

Leave a Reply