PRO: Yik Yak platform fosters open conversation on Tulane’s campus

Brandi Doyal, Views Editor

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The following is an opinion article and does not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

Colleges in Chicago, New Mexico and Vermont are beginning to ban Yik Yak, a social media platform some have referred to as an “anonymous Twitter.” While misuse of the app has given it a bad reputation, banning the app does not erase the problem. Some schools have banned the app by blocking access to it on their network.

Yik Yak allows people within a 10-mile radius to post anonymously on a constant feed, and other users either up-vote or down-vote the posts. Once a post receives five down-votes, admins immediately remove it from the site.

Recent cases of bullying, improper conduct and threats of violence including both bomb and campus shooting threats, such as at Penn State, have been reported, investigated and sometimes resulted in arrests. Nancy Berns, a sociology professor at Drake University, argued that the anonymous nature of the site adds to the negative tendencies of the communities in an Oct. 6 USA Today article. Additionally, the creators of the app released information showing they were working to increase the app’s security to prevent further misuse.

While the app certainly can be used negatively, users have promoted healthy conversation through Yik Yak. Recently on Tulane’s campus, two students tragically died, and students used Yik Yak as a support base. The feed was flooded with comforting and understanding posts. 

Yik Yak can be considered the ultimate bathroom wall, where students write negatively about each other, but that is not where the problem lies. While it is one of the first to implement an anonymous platform, the app is not the first form of social media that has experienced misuse. Facebook and Twitter have both been used to threaten communities and bully individuals.

Yik Yak may even be better than other social media sites at stopping misuse because of its user voting system. Students on Yik Yak have the power to stop cyberbullying on the site, and often do, as posts attacking individuals are usually removed from the site fairly quickly.

Each community has its share of good and bad members. Yik Yak is not responsible for creating negative opinions, and banning the app would not eradicate negativity from Tulane’s campus.

Brandi Doyal is a sophomore in the Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached for comment at [email protected]

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