1. Last week, two separate high schools in California were put on lockdown — one of them for three days — following bomb threats that were made through an anonymous online messaging app called Yik Yak.

    And as a quick scan of news stories written about the app in the 13 months since it was launched proves, these cases represent merely the tip of the ice berg.

    At least 11 college students from across the U.S. are facing charges for issuing threats of mass violence or terror on Yik Yak during this semester alone according to the Huffington Post.

    In fact, so many classes have been cancelled this year due to Yik Yak threats that students have reportedly started calling shutdowns due to fake threats "YikYak Days."
  2. Reports of these threats, along with the usual concerns that tend to surface when an anonymous messaging app becomes popular with students (cyberbullying, nude photo sharing, etc.,) have prompted many school administrators to try and block the app on campus.

    And yet, despite all of the negative press it's received, Yik Yak is only getting bigger.

    On Sunday, it was announced that the creators of app — which lets users share and vote on anonymous posts made within a 1.5-mile radius — had received a $62 million investment in Yik Yak.

    Led by Sequoia Capital, the startup's latest funding round brought the Atlanta-based company's valuation to "between $300 million and $400 million," according to the Wall Street Journal.

    "The deal is a sign of investors’ eagerness to plow money into social and messaging apps, despite how crowded the market has become," wrote the WSJ of the investment. "For Sequoia, which reaped one of the largest payouts in venture-capital history this year with WhatsApp, the Yik Yak investment marks another bet on a hot messaging app."

    While Yik Yak has recieved its fair share of flak over cyberbullying concerns and fake threats, it's far from the only anonymous messaging app to get parents, schools and police talking in recent years.

    Perhaps the most high-profile controversial messaging app to become wildly popular among teens is Snapchat.

    Now valued at approximately $10 billion, Snapchat was once looked upon (and perhaps still is) as a teen sexting hotbed.
  3. Snapchat appears to be thriving, even despite some widely reported security flubs.

    The anonymous sharing apps Whisper and Secret — both which drove an insane amount of buzz earlier this year — "have had a tough time after experiencing some notoriety earlier in the year" on the other hand, according to Mashable.

    Point in case, Secret is no longer even on the App Store's top 1,000 list.

    Whisper has fallen off the top 250, but remains in the top 500.
  4. And then there's Streetchat, another anonymous bulletin board app that gained notoriety in October after 14-year-old student was charged with harassment for "posting inappropriate photos" of his Spanish teacher using the app.

    Parents, teachers, police officers and even students have decried the app in recent months on the grounds that its bullying problem is out of hand.
  5. Whether Yik Yak will continue to gain in popularity among students or eventually be replaced by something less controversial remains to be seen — but the app's founders are working to remedy the problems associated with it.

    Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington, both recent graduates of South Carolina's Furman University, told the WSJ that their team is now trying to "restrict the app’s use through geo-fencing, building virtual walls around the addresses of high schools."

    Droll said that high-school students haven’t shown the maturity to use his app, and that Yik Yak requires users to be 18 years or older, or 17 if permitted by a parent or guardian.
  6. Have you or has someone you know tried out Yik Yak? If so, what do you make of the app? Weigh in with your thoughts below.











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