April 30 (UPI) — Yik Yak, the hyper-local social media app once popular on high school and college campuses, is closing, its founders said in a blog post Saturday.
The app skyrocketed to popularity with young people in 2014. It allowed users in a defined geographic location like schools and campuses to post messages, videos and photos anonymously to anyone else in their “herd.” At the height of its popularity, Yik Yak was the third-most frequently downloaded application for cellphones.
As the app grew in popularity, school administrators began to crack down on its use because the anonymous nature of the postings made it a ripe platform for cyberbullying.
Eventually, the unfiltered vulgarity and threats prompted the company to implement mandatory handles, like on Twitter. The lack of anonymity led many of the site’s most ardent users to delete their accounts, seeing little use for a group messaging app when more established forums offered the same functionality, in Twitter’s case to a wider audience or Snapchat, with a cultivated list of friends and followers.
The company had listed itself for sale, but found no buyers. A segment of its engineering department was sold to the app-based payment company Square for $3 million.
The company’s co-founders, Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington, said they were grateful to staff and supporters for helping build the company.
“Building Yik Yak — both the app you used and the company that powered it — was the greatest, hardest, most enjoyable, most stressful, and ultimately most rewarding experience we’ve ever had. We’re incredibly grateful to the team that put their hearts and souls into making this app special, the investors and mentors who helped us along the way, and the city of Atlanta which provided a great community for us to build our business,” they said in a blog post.