How Yik Yak and Sneek are crumbling social media
Cyberbullying on Facebook is becoming a thing of the past, so much so that apps now grant people the chance to post anonymous messages for the whole neighborhood to see.
As stated in a November issue of The Oracle, 11 to 15 percent of USF students post to Yik Yak, the anonymous social media app that pulls in posts from within a few miles of the user and allows students to communicate without actually needing to see each other.
Unsurprisingly, Yik Yak’s anonymous posters take advantage of being faceless, and they post less than appealing messages, personalized with a USF twist. Recent unsavory posts include, “University of Sexy Females,” “Nothing brings all the races together like hating on Greek life” and of course the occasional person seeking a hookup.
However, USF’s are not on par with the Yaks that recently gained the attention of the New York Times. One Eastern Michigan University professor threatened legal action after seeing abusive posts about herself that were made during her lecture.
And therein lies the problem — anonymity grants people the ability to post any asinine or offensive comment they desire without the nasty aftertaste of facing the consequences.
If Yik Yak seems too dull, there is now Sneek — the Instagram to Yik Yak’s Twitter — where local users post photos without a known identity.
USF’s Sneek includes photos of legs, butts, marijuana and dogs. The most “up-voted” posts are usually those of a girl’s breasts or butt, most of which include crude comments from unknown users who speak perhaps more bluntly than they would in person.
While it is not surprising to read some comments made on nude selfies, the real harsh comments come from posts made when users are supposedly drunk or trying to be personal.
For instance, one local user posted a picture of herself with her baby that said, “Being a mom is such a gift.” Some commenters harassed the mother about how she holds her baby, and when her location became an issue, one user mentioned how she “can’t be in El Salvador, she’s wearing a bra.”
While these apps are certainly a case of “if you don’t like it, don’t use it,” that doesn’t acknowledge that feeds are always growing and people are still posting rude things about fellow students.
Building apps on anonymity should not become a trend. The Internet is cruel enough as it is.
And with Yik Yak, at least the worries stop at the original post. Sneek could be evidence enough to really hurt someone. USF students could be seeing nude selfies of someone under 18, or perhaps an alcohol-inspired post could get screenshot and appear on another site.
Nobody needs to recognize their friend’s bathroom after seeing that tattoo that was always hidden from sunlight.
While the same problems may happen on Twitter and Facebook, there are at least privacy settings and the knowledge that your family and friends will see everything that gets posted. Yik Yak and Sneek are trying to act as the next step of social media, but it is one that should not be taken.
Adam Mathieu is a junior majoring in studio art.