Anonymous messaging app Yik Yak returns after 4-year shutdown

Anonymous messaging app Yik Yak returns after 4-year shutdown
© Getty

The anonymous messaging app Yik Yak has relaunched after a four year shutdown, the company announced Monday. 

The platform boasted that it is offering “the same Yik Yak experience millions knew and loved, and now you can live it again.”

The app was available in the Apple App Store for users in the U.S. on Monday. It will be available for download in more countries and on more devices “soon,” according to Yik Yak. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Yik Yak launched in 2013, and gained popularity largely on college campuses. The platform allows users to post anonymous posts on a range of topics and connect with users up to 5 miles away. 

The app was once reportedly valued at $400 million around its peak popularity. But mobile payment company Square paid just $1 million before Yik Yak shut down to hire several of Yik Yak’s employees and acquire a non-exclusive license to some of Yik Yak’s intellectual property. 

Before shutting down in 2017, Yik Yak was also plagued with posts filled with bullying, harassment and threats. 

The newly launched Yik Yak site includes a section outlining community “guardrails,” as well as mental health and safety resources. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Yik Yak’s guidelines state posts with bullying and harassment, bigotry, violence and threats are not allowed on the platform. Posts that impersonate another person to “mislead” or confuse others, as well as posts that “knowingly share fake news, unless it's obvious satire," are also not allowed based on the guidelines. 

Yik Yak’s moderation system is in part left up to users. Yik Yak asks users to “downvote” and report posts that violate guidelines for moderation. Posts that reach “-5 total vote points” will be removed from Yik Yak. Posts that are reported will need to be reviewed, based on the platform's guidelines. 

“Through the upvote/downvote system, we rely on our community to help make Yik Yak a constructive venue for free and productive speech,” the guidelines state. 

The platform also states that users “may be banned” for violating guidelines, but in “most cases” posts that violate guidelines will “simply be removed.” 

The return of Yik Yak comes as lawmakers have cracked down on social media platforms’ content moderation policies. More established social media giants, as well as emerging platforms like Parler, have faced pressure from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle over content moderation practices. 

Democrats have widely called for platforms to put in place more aggressive policies to remove false information, whereas Republicans have criticized platforms’ decision to enforce their policies to ban certain posts and users.