A wildly popular anonymous messaging app has been removed from the Apple and Google stores after accusations that it has been facilitating bullying. But the company’s chief executive denies the claims and says the app isn’t meant to be used by younger teens.
Katrina Collins was appalled by the anonymous messages her 13-year-old daughter was receiving. One person said she hoped her daughter would kill herself. Others used extremely foul and offensive language.
The messages appeared on the Sarahah app, which was designed to allow people to leave “honest feedback” about colleagues and friends. Although Collins’ daughter wasn’t actually using the app, she saw the messages after a friend downloaded it and showed them to her.
Collins, who lives in Australia, put up a post on online petition site Change.org. She called for the app to be removed from two of the biggest mobile storefronts – Apple’s App store and Google’s Play store. The petition accused Sarahah of facilitating “bullying” and “self harm”, and quickly gained nearly 470,000 supporters.
The app was then taken down from both the Apple and Google stores. It appears the companies took action in response to the petition, although a Google spokesperson said “we don’t comment on specific apps” and Apple did not respond to requests for comment.
Zain-Alabdin Tawfiq, the CEO of Sarahah, has disputed Collins’ allegations. He says the decision by Apple and Google to remove the app was “unfortunate”, but is “very optimistic about reaching a favourable understanding with them soon.”
– Elizabeth Cassin
Photo source – Flickr.com