We’ve been here a few times – covering a number of apps which allow users to post anonymous Q & A eg In February we blogged about popular app Tellonym after two schools in the UK issued warnings to Parents.
Don’t get me wrong. We’re big fans of privacy features – just not
so much anonymity on platforms children frequent on a daily basis.
So, Snapchat has joined the
ranks. Well it doesn’t directly allow users to send anonymous
messages. But it kinda does – through the Yolo app. Yolo encourages Snapchatters to use it’s ‘send me anonymous
messages’ feature via a graphic. So same
Yolo, according to Snap
(Snapchat’s owners) ‘is not owned by or affiliated with Snapchat’. Despite Yolo being one of the first apps to
be launched by Snapchat’s software creation Snap Kit last year. Confused. So
Snapchat along with Instagram still remain amongst the most popular apps amongst children and young people. Snapchat is still thriving, despite losing around 2% of its user base recently, a million of those after the infamous Kylie Jenner quote!.
Yolo – which stands for ‘you
only live once’ – has become the most downloaded app in the UK and US within a
week of its release and is currently Number 2 in the UK iOS Top Chart for free
The app which is available for
iPhone and Android allows users to add a ‘ask me anything’ sticker (graphic) to
their Snapchat stories. The post can be attached to a story but can also be
sent to a specific group of friends on Snapchat, a group or just the general
Up for Parents
The Yolo app is rated as 17+.
As noted in previous blogs
apps which facilitate anonymous comments can be misused to send abusive or harassing
messages. The app does come with a warning. When you first launch a message appears on
screen stating ‘YOLO has no tolerance for objectionable content or abusive
users. You’ll be banned for any inappropriate usage’.
In the past we’ve reviewed a
number of anonymous Q & A apps coming under the spotlight as a result of
abusive and bullying behavior.
As Snapchat (via Yolo) now has
this feature which allows users the ability to post and respond to messages
anonymously, potential for mis-use has gone up a notch.
Anonymous posts can be used to
bully, harass, hurt and cause distress to others. Tellonym is just another in a
long line of apps like Afterschool, Whisper, Ask.fm and Sarahah some of which
still continue to be of concern for parents.
Anyways according to Snap, as Yolo operates on ‘Snap Kit’ the structure built by Snapchat for third party developers, it does have to follow Snap’s Community Guidelines, even though remember ‘IT IS NOT OWNED BY OR AFFILIATED IN ANY WAY’ to Snapchat. So the good news is that users can report bullying or harassment on Yolo through Snapchat reporting tools. That’s something. Hopefully they can police this and mitigate the risks.
Keep safe online,
Wayne Denner is a speaker, author and expert on Online Reputation and Wellbeing. Wayne helps young people protect and improve their digital presence. Visit waynedenner.com for more information.