Yik Yak tests out new photo-sharing feature

Caleb Wong

Yik Yak is piloting a photo-sharing feature on select campuses after receiving a number of requests from users, according to Yik Yak CEO Tyler Droll.

“Yakkers have told us that they’d love the option of adding a picture to their yak, so this is something we’re currently testing out on a handful of campuses,” Droll said in a statement to Mashable last week. “There have been some great photo yaks so far, depicting everything from questions to sports victories to random funny moments. We’re excited to see what these communities share.”

Yik Yak is an anonymous social media application in which users post “Yaks,” which are 200-character messages viewable to users within a 10-mile radius. Yik Yak staff will moderate the new photo-sharing feature to keep inappropriate photos and photos that depict illegal activities from being posted, Droll said. Users will be able to take pictures directly from the app.

Madeline Smith, a Yik Yak campus representative and economics junior, said the feature could detract from the anonymous nature of the application but might also be used to promote positive causes such as philanthropic sales.

“I would hope they would introduce in a way that would be positive,” Smith said. “Kind of like the Snapchat campus story — they post things like people selling cupcakes for charity in the West Mall.”

Although Yik Yak is popular among college students, the app has received critical feedback because of threats and harassment posted on the application, according to an article from digital news website TechCrunch. Anonymity on the app has led to more harmful comments being posted, according to Katy Redd, Counseling and Mental Health Center interim program director.

“Users are probably more willing to say [and] to comment in a different voice than they would normally use if they were representing themselves,” Redd said. “I think that we behave differently when it’s our public persona versus [an attitude of] ‘no one’s ever going to be able to identify me.’”

Law enforcement can sometimes identify users who post inappropriate content on Yik Yak, Smith said.

“They have been able to track someone down based on something they posted on the app,” Smith said. “Anonymous can only go so far. There becomes a point where if you say something, you’ll be punished for it. Law enforcement has been involved with [certain content] that has been posted on the app.”