Earlier this week, my classmate Clayton commented on “the value of negative Yik Yak.” I’m going to take the opposite stand and say that the app should be banned – or at least changed dramatically – at UNC and potentially other college campuses.
I used to use Yik Yak. Some of the posts I saw on the app were funny and lighthearted, but I also saw posts that spewed vitriol and racist remarks. Clayton argued that there is value in seeing some of the hate speech on social media because it lets us know that problems still exist within society.
That may be true, but why do we need an app to tell us that racism still exists in America? If we want to know whether that’s true, all we have to do is turn on the news or surf the web to find out about another minority being shot and killed by police. We don’t need to perpetuate a platform for our peers to contribute to this racism by allowing Yik Yak to stick around.
In my opinion, one of the best ways to combat racism and other societal issues is by discussing it in a productive manner. Allowing users to anonymously post whatever they want with nothing in place that forces them to take accountability for their comments only perpetuates the hateful dialogues that do nothing but harm the community and the society as a whole.
There would be a lot of responses that cite First Amendment protection and claim that the banning of the app would be considered unlawful censorship, which is fair. However, to the people who argue that, I would suggest altering the app to include users’ names along with the messages they post. Introducing some accountability would make people less likely to make these types of damaging comments and could even encourage some useful conversation.