Popular app Yik Yak banned in several schools

Emily Short

Social media has taken commenting to a whole new level by making it anonymous.

One of these social media apps on the rise made with this anonymous design, Yik Yak has been banned at Norwich University in Vermont.

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Yik Yak is an app in which a person can post and see the thoughts of people geographically near them, but they are all anonymous. It is similar to Twitter, but there is no way of knowing who is posting. According to Yik Yak, the app is intended for anonymous gossip.

Norwich decided to block students from viewing Yik Yak was because they felt that it became a space for cyber bullying. While students can use it on their personal devices at home, they are not able to access the app through the school network system.

“I just know that it is hurting my students right now,” said Norwich University President Richard Schneider. “They are feeling awkward, they are feeling hurt, they are feeling threatened.”

CSU sophomore biology major Kyra Headrick questioned whether or not a university has the ability to make this sort of decision and felt that it shouldn’t be able to censor media.

“Pretty much everyone here is over 18 and legal adults,” Headrick said. “Their school shouldn’t be able to dictate what they look at on the Internet.”

While Yik Yak does not claim to be of the best intentions, sophomore biomedical sciences major Yunus Ozekin says that this app is no different from other social media.

Ozekin said people still subtweet each other, gossip through direct messaging, post unkind things to another’s wall or even create fake accounts to target someone under the safety of a fake name.

“I don’t believe it was an appropriate response because, at the end of the day, it is a form of social media and anything people do on Yik Yak they [are still able to] do on other social media networks, albeit not anonymous,” Ozekin said. “However, they don’t have the right to censor free speech, especially not if other social media networks where the same actions are commonplace are overlooked.”

Yik Yak is the only controversial app that Norwich University has banned. Apparently, apps such as Tinder or Snapchat have been left alone even though people can use those to hook up or send photos that disappear after 10 seconds.

Yik Yak launched last November and is now one of a number of anonymous posting sites. The site is geared towards colleges and their student bodies. Access to the app is blocked within about a 1.5-mile radius of high schools and middle schools.

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“I could see why high schools would want to censor this at school, a lot already do block certain sites,” said Charlotte Wood, a sophomore health and exercise science major. “I just don’t see why a college decided this was something they needed to take into their own hands.”

Collegian Reporter Emily Short can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @TheNamesShort.