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KYW at SXSW: Anonymous App 'Yik Yak' Addressing Cyberbullying Concerns

By social media editor Melony Roy

AUSTIN, Tex. (CBS) -- Yik Yak has been described as the "wild wild west of anonymous social apps."  Last year, both Moorestown and Neshaminy high schools had problems with students who were using the app.

Now, those concerns are being addressed by those behind the anonymous, location-based app.

Today, at the SXSW Interactive Conference, in Austin, Tex., the cofounders of Yik Yak took the stage to defend the service against criticisms that it enabled cyberbullying.

Cofounder Tyler Droll says they've taken steps to fight back against such misuse.

"We find all that extremely inappropriate," he said, "and we have a bunch of filters, tools, and moderations the community can use to police the app."

For things like bomb threats, the app now detects potential threats and sends a warning message to the user before the post is accepted for publication.

The founders also pointed out that the app is not targeted toward high schoolers, and that 95 percent of its users are college students.

"There's no other way to connect instantly with everyone around you, especially on a college campus, where everyone has a similar experience," Droll said.

He adds they have also built "geofences" that disable the app around nearly 100,000 high schools in the US.


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