Yik Yak Under Fire


Kaitlyn Mobilia, Campus News Editor

In recent weeks, the social media app Yik Yak has come under fire at Fitchburg State. Yik Yak is a social media platform where users can post anonymous comments about anything. This app was originally created in 2013, but was removed in 2017 due to a large number of complaints from colleges and universities that the app was facilitating racism, homophobia, and violence amongst many other issues. The app made a reappearance in 2021 when Yik Yak promised better moderation of the content on the app. 

In the last few weeks, there have been three instances of deliberately activated fire alarms, and one thwarted attempt stopped by the University Police Department. All of these incidents took place in Russell Towers between the hours off 12a.m. and 2:30a.m. They also took place in all four towers, A, B, C, and D. These specific pull stations were placed in the elevator lobbies in the building. This was extremely exhausting for students, as these instances happened multiple times in one week. SRA Miranda Gustin said she “was up until 4:30a.m. and had to skip a test”, because she could not stay awake. Being woken up multiple days in the middle of the night took a toll on both residents and RA’s. Resident Julia Ciccolini said that “It literally made me sick because I wasn’t getting enough sleep”. Another resident, Bailey Gates, “ended up sleeping through classes because of how late it was by the time we got back to our rooms”. Another student, Julia Ciccolini said that “It literally made me sick because I wasn’t getting enough sleep”. She also heard that there was a second alarm pull being planned through Yik Yak one night after a pull had already happened that night. All of these acts have been planned through Yik Yak. 

There has also been reports of sexual harassment, bullying, and encouragement of suicidal acts on the app at Fitchburg State. After returning to the Apple App Store Yik Yak had promised better monitoring, however there still seems to be no monitoring whatsoever. The University Police Department has not been able to find the people who carried out these acts. There is no way to find out who said what on the app due to the fact it is solely tracked by phone number, meaning that trying to find the people who did this would result in breaching privacy laws. Soon after the fire alarms were pulled, this issue was brought to the attention of the Student Government Association. 

A motion to put out an official statement on behalf of the SGA was voted on, resulting in a statement being posted on all of the SGA’s social media handles. Taking on further action, the SGA is currently advocating for the banning of the Yik Yak app on the Fitchburg State campus. A timeline is in site for contacting administration and the HR department of Yik Yak to have Fitchburg State and anywhere 5 miles around it “dead zoned”. This means that the app will not work even if a VPN or data is being used, making it nearly impossible to access the app on campus. 

For full transparency, please be advised that Kaitlyn Mobilia, the writer of this article, serves as a Senator for the SGA.