Creators of location-based app Yik Yak – which allows users to post anonymous messages to any other user within a 5-mile radius, like a “virtual bulletin board” - recently took steps to curtail an unacceptable use of their social messaging platform.
Although creators Brooks Buffington and Tyler Droll marketed the app to college students, middle and high schoolers adopted it as well. Unfortunately, at some schools, these students were using Yik Yak to bully and harass other students and teachers.
“We made Yik Yak for college students, not thinking that high school or middle school students would use the app,” explains Buffington. “As soon as we became aware of the problems in high schools and middle schools we have acted as proactively as we possibly can.”
Maponics School Data Enables Geofences Around Schools
The Yik Yak team needed a way to disable the app at middle and high schools. They decided to build geofences around schools in the US and to do so proactively, even if no bullying has been reported from that location.
Geofences act as virtual perimeters around a geographic area. When people with GPS-enabled mobile devices cross these boundaries, they may receive notifications and messaging from mobile marketers and geoadvertisers, or be able to “check in” to a location on a social media platform.
In the case of Yik Yak, when students cross onto their high school campus with a surrounding geofence, they are now unable to use the app until they leave school – that is, cross back over the geofence.
To build these geofences, Yik Yak licensed Maponics school points, part of our School Boundaries product.
National Association of People Against Bullying Weighs In
When a San Clemente High School went on lockdown after a threatening Yik Yak post caused a bomb scare on campus, Anna Mendez, Executive Director of the National Association of People Against Bullying (NAPAB), contacted the app’s creators.
“I asked them to immediately disable the app at the high school but … I wanted protection for more than just our local schools,” comments Mendez. “The developer of the app, Brooks Buffington, and I spoke on a regular basis and he finally gave me the good news that, through geofencing, they would be able to shut off the app at middle schools and high schools across the country. I was thrilled.”
Maponics School Boundaries – Comprehensive, Accurate, Current
Yik Yak founders chose Maponics School Boundaries to build their geofences because of our extensive coverage: Maponics has mapped all the public and private schools across the U.S.
We also keep our School Boundaries product as current as possible, with continuous, rolling updates; and we source our school boundaries in-house so we can ensure the highest quality. (See the 8 reasons Maponics is the school data leader.)
Read More About Yik Yak’s School Geofences
To read more about how Yik Yak is using geofences to counter middle and high school bullying, see…
- Tech Crunch - Amid Bullying & Threats of Violence, Anonymous Social App Yik Yak Shuts Off Access to U.S. Middle and High School Students
- International Business Times – Yik Yak Founders: ‘Bullying’ App Was Meant to be Non-Judgemental Real-Time Bulletin Board