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Askfm 3.0 Destined to Fail

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Recently, usage of the website and app called “Sarahah” has spread like wildfire across Snapchat. Why?

The third-party service promises many tall orders to its consumers, including the opportunity to “improve your friendship by discovering your strengths and areas for improvement.” On Sarahah, users may comment anonymously on a person’s profile, which is usually linked to through a Snapchat plugin. Only the profile owner may see the replies, which adds to the anonymity, but many people have taken screenshots and publicly answered them. This widespread sharing of the replies has, in part, increased the app’s popularity.

However, despite its innocuously-worded premise, Sarahah has a darker side that many are ignoring. Though a different name and a different interface, the premise almost exactly matches that of other controversial “anonymous feedback” services of several years ago such as Ask.fm and YikYak.

Both services failed spectacularly after some users manipulated the platforms into their own personal soapboxes of hatred and fear. Several people, most of them teenagers, attempted or committed suicide. One school even had to be evacuated because of a bomb threat – twice.

Sarahah is no different. Already, many have alleged the same type of cyberbullying has begun. Given the history of the other, similar interfaces, this is bound to worsen. With the controversy it is starting to – and will continue to – cause, Sarahah was probably better off as its original concept as an employee feedback outlet.

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Askfm 3.0 Destined to Fail