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posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday March 10 2015, @09:32PM   Printer-friendly
from the why-we-can't-have-nice-things dept.

Jonathon Mahler writes in the NYT that in much the same way that Facebook swept through the dorm rooms of America’s college students a decade ago, the social app Yik Yak, which shows anonymous messages from users within a 1.5-mile radius is now taking college campuses by storm. "Think of it as a virtual community bulletin board — or maybe a virtual bathroom wall at the student union," writes Mahler. "It has become the go-to social feed for college students across the country to commiserate about finals, to find a party or to crack a joke about a rival school." And while much of the chatter is harmless, some of it is not. “Yik Yak is the Wild West of anonymous social apps,” says Danielle Keats Citron. “It is being increasingly used by young people in a really intimidating and destructive way.” Since the app’s introduction a little more than a year ago, Yik Yak has been used to issue threats of mass violence on more than a dozen college campuses, including the University of North Carolina, Michigan State University and Penn State. Racist, homophobic and misogynist “yaks” have generated controversy at many more, among them Clemson, Emory, Colgate and the University of Texas. At Kenyon College, a “yakker” proposed a gang rape at the school’s women’s center.

Colleges are largely powerless to deal with the havoc Yik Yak is wreaking. The app’s privacy policy prevents schools from identifying users without a subpoena, court order or search warrant, or an emergency request from a law-enforcement official with a compelling claim of imminent harm. Esha Bhandari, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, argues that "banning Yik Yak on campuses might be unconstitutional," especially at public universities or private colleges in California where the so-called Leonard Law protects free speech. She said it would be like banning all bulletin boards in a school just because someone posted a racist comment on one of the boards. In one sense, the problem with Yik Yak is a familiar one. Anyone who has browsed the comments of an Internet post is familiar with the sorts of intolerant, impulsive rhetoric that the cover of anonymity tends to invite. But Yik Yak’s particular design can produce especially harmful consequences, its critics say. “It’s a problem with the Internet culture in general, but when you add this hyper-local dimension to it, it takes on a more disturbing dimension,” says Elias Aboujaoude.” “You don’t know where the aggression is coming from, but you know it’s very close to you.”

 
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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by LordFrito on Tuesday March 10 2015, @10:34PM

    by LordFrito (3821) on Tuesday March 10 2015, @10:34PM (#155759)

    Am I crazy to think this is just some viral marketing BS?

    All I know is I keep finding duplicates of Slashdot articles on Soylent, and we all know about how Dice Holdings operates.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 10 2015, @10:40PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 10 2015, @10:40PM (#155767)

    Hugh Pickens (or somebody using the name Hugh Pickens) appears to submit stories to both sites.

    Do you have evidence to suggest that Hugh Pickens is associated with Dice? If you do, then you should present it to us. We prefer to deal with facts here, rather than speculation.

    • (Score: 1) by LordFrito on Wednesday March 11 2015, @10:54AM

      by LordFrito (3821) on Wednesday March 11 2015, @10:54AM (#155992)

      Let me be clear that was not an accusation of anyone or any post in particular... I usually don't even read the submitter's name. By no means am I associating Hugh Pickens, or anyone else here, with Dice.

      The Dice comment was just me venting about a vague general feeling that everywhere I go on the internet I'm being force fed the same articles -- Soylent being no exception unfortunately (sometimes).

      Need to be more careful with my words

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mrcoolbp on Wednesday March 11 2015, @04:52AM

    by mrcoolbp (68) <mrcoolbp@soylentnews.org> on Wednesday March 11 2015, @04:52AM (#155924) Homepage

    We don't check their queue before posting stories and I'm not surprised there's an overlap in submission content. We can't see what they have in the future queue, nor would it affect our editorial decisions. Look at the comment count here, clearly this is at least of some interest to those that hang out here.

    --
    (Score:1^½, Radical)
    • (Score: 1) by LordFrito on Wednesday March 11 2015, @10:57AM

      by LordFrito (3821) on Wednesday March 11 2015, @10:57AM (#155995)

      Agreed that the article is of interest, heck I already read it once on the site. Just feels weird lately seeing the same stories pop up everywhere. I'd swear it's happening more often year over year. Then again, maybe I'm just getting old and cratchety.