Local and anonymous social media app Yik Yak is back

Yik Yak — the anonymous, local social media app that only shows posts from people in your immediate area — has returned from the grave with new ownership after shutting down four years ago.

According to the app’s relaunched website, the new incarnation of Yik Yak bought the rights to redevelop the service in February 2021, with the aim of providing a local social media network that’s free from the “labels” that dominate communication on other platforms.

The new app resembles the original version of Yik Yak from 2014: users can post and comment on short text posts that are only able to be viewed within a five-mile radius. Like Reddit, posts can be upvoted and downvoted, and a separate “hot” feed compiles the top post from the past 24 hours.

Originally launched in late 2013, the app was a flash-in-the-pan success (particularly at college campuses) for most of 2014, when it was valued at $400 million by investors. But while the anonymity made it popular for college students, Yik Yak also was rife with bullying and harassment. In early 2016, in an effort to get things back on track, Yik Yak added optional social media handles, which were made mandatory in August of that year, effectively removing what had made the service unique. The original incarnation of Yik Yak ended up shutting down in early 2017, when it was sold for $1 million to Square for its engineering talent and IP.

The new Yik Yak looks to be taking a serious stance on bullying and harassment on its platform, though — something that the original incarnation of the app failed to do. The new owners have posted an extensive list of its “community guardrails,” which include prohibiting sharing of personal information, “anything that could be construed as bullying, abuse, defamation, harassment, stalking, or targeted hate or public humiliation,” and more.

The company also notes that bullying, hate speech, threats, or other violations of any the community guardrails or terms of service can lead to an immediate ban from the platform. And posts that receive a total score of -5 will be hidden from view, too, to ensure that negative or harmful content isn’t surfaced further.

The new Yik Yak is currently only available to download on iOS for users in the US, but the developers are promising to expand to more countries and devices soon.

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