Sarahah the anonymous message app – with a reported 300 million users worldwide, has been removed from the Google Play and Apple store. It appears to be in response to an Online Petition calling for its removal after accusations that it facilitates bullying.
According to an article on BBC, Katrina Collins who launched the petition on website change.org, said she was ‘appalled by the anonymous messages her 13-year-old daughter was receiving. One person said she hoped her daughter would kill herself. Others used extremely foul and offensive language’
Zain-Alabdin Tawfiq, the CEO of Sarahah, has disputed Collins’ accusations. He says the decision by Apple and Google to remove the app was ‘unfortunate’ and that he’s optimistic about reaching a favorable understanding with them soon.’
At the moment the app is not available to be downloaded from either Google Play or the Apple App store.
• Users who have previously downloaded the app can still use it if they have it on a device.
• It is also still possible to use Sarahah via its website.
The website could be added to a block listed on your home ‘parental controls’ to help prevent it being accessed.
According to the app’s website – ‘Sarahah helps you in discovering your strengths and areas for improvement by receiving honest feedback from your employees and your friends in a private manner’. Sarahah originally started out as a website intended for employees to give anonymous feedback to their employers.
Once the Sarahah app has been downloaded, users must create an account on the app. The user will create their name ie name.sarahah.com. They can then search for other Sarahah users on the app and send anonymous text based messages. The main difference with this app compared to others is that users can only send messages – they cannot respond to messages received.
The app does offer some limited privacy features which allow users control over the following 2 options:
• Appear in search
• Receive messages from non–registered users
As with other anonymous apps we’ve highlighted in the past, there is always the potential for apps of this nature to be misused in relation to bullying, harassment or abuse.
Trolling could also be another potential concern. Teenagers can also use the Snapchat ‘Paperclip’ feature to share links to their Sarahah profile, encouraging others to send them anonymous feedback.
Teenagers and young users can be especially vulnerable due to a social need for affirmation of their online identity on social networks.
We’ll watch this space on developments with Sarahah and keep you updated – you can check our previous blog out on Sarahah here
Posted By Wayne Denner