Lately, many app developers have succumbed to the anonymous app trends. No one, however, has thought about just how dangerous these apps might be.
Sarahah.com, created by Zain Al-Abidin Tawfiq, has recently been removed from the two largest application stores in the world; the Apple App Store and Google Play. Sarahah (honesty), was developed to provide anonymous feedback for and from colleagues and/or friends. However, it has taken a dangerous toll on its users.
Just a couple of days ago, Katrina Collins, a concerned Australian mother, caught life threatening messages on her daughter’s (13 years old) phone through the app. Her daughter had not been a user, yet, received a message from someone who hoped she would kill herself through a friend’s account.
After finding the offensive messages on her daughter’s phone, Katrina started a petition on a petition site; Change.org. She called for the app to be removed from the two of the largest mobile storefronts. The petition accused the app for facilitating bullying and self-harm, with approximately 14 million users.
Although both companies had no comments about the matter, the petition attracted nearly 470,000 supporters, and both storefronts took the app down indeed.
The CEO of the Sarahah app, Zain-Al Abidin Tawfiq, argued with Katrina’s accusations of the app promoting violence and self-harm. Furthermore, he commented on Apple and Google’s decision to take down the app, and described it as “unfortunate”. Nevertheless, he has not lost hope in contacting them and trying to find a compromise soon.
Anonymous apps have been a threat to many teenagers since the trend started. Trolling and offense has risen rapidly with the vast expansion of the business, and so has the international cyberbullying victim rate.