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Review Sarahah: A Tool For Cyberbullying

Discussion in 'Latest Technology Updates' started by Abasiofiok Bassey, Aug 13, 2017.

  1. Abasiofiok Bassey

    Abasiofiok Bassey Verified Moose Mod


    The app, which has now made its way to the city, is fetching not just honest feedback but is also acting as a platform for bullying.

    Over the last few days, the popularity of Sarahah, an anonymous messaging app, has skyrocketed in the country, with a huge number of youngsters sharing posts about it on social media. The app is used by people for sending and receiving feedback from others, albeit anonymously. Now, who wouldn’t love to know more about themselves from people who don’t have to be diplomatic? But in all this excitement, most people also forget that hidden behind a mask of anonymity, toxic words find a way out quite readily and easily — something that may not happen face to face.

    For starters, this app was launched several months ago, but has recently started gaining popularity in India after impacting countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia. However, this is not the first anonymous messaging platform around — Sarahah has a few predecessors such as Yik Yak and Whisper.

    Interestingly, what makes this particular app work is its straightforward approach; it doesn’t contain any confusing features. The makers claim that Sarahah, which in Arabic means honesty, will serve as a platform for one to “get honest feedback from co-workers and friends”.

    But in an age when awareness regarding cyberbullying is being reinstated every day, will this app also serve as an additional platform for bullies to spread negativity and hurl abuses? Well, it seems so! A lot of people have been getting creepy messages on the app. While a few have claimed to get messages from their stalkers, there are also some who have even received death threats. The app is also being used for harassing men and women, sexually and even otherwise.

    An IT professional, who does not want to be named, has been using the app since a couple of weeks now and has been flooded with flirty messages. One of the messages read, “Your lips are quite tempting... can you send me a few of your photos?” while another said, “Catch me if you can, I will f**k you tonight. And if I catch you alone, I will not leave you alone for sure.”

    Another IT professional shares a similar harrowing experience. “People started asking how much I charge. I was scandalised at first, as I had shared the link on Facebook, which only has people I interact with professionally or people I know personally, and getting such a message from one of them left me numb. I posted the messages on my timeline and that post got so many comments supporting me, while trolling the anonymous person,” revealed the woman.

    Abhishek dhar

    City-based musician and lead vocalist of Jhaal Moody Blues, Abhishek Dhar says, “When I started using the app, I was excited to find out what people were thinking about me. My inbox was flooded with messages, starting from appreciation of my work to positive criticism. People even told me how I can become a full-time singer. As the app started becoming more popular, negative and hate messages kept pouring in. A few girls I know received creepy messages which they didn’t share online due to fear. If people are increasingly getting hate messages, they should post it on social media for the rest of the world to see. This may stop the person from sending such messages. If you keep quiet, the other person might feel encouraged.”

    Bina mehta

    Socialite Bina Mehta revealed that many of her friends, too, received hate messages. She says, “Like any other social media fad, Sarahah has both negative and positive sides. First, people could appreciate your work and the other is the hate messages from them. However, when you don’t even know who is messaging you, what’s the point of thinking what they have to say. According to me, it’s utter wastage of time to even think about it and lose your sleep over it. This fascination too will die down soon.”

    Meanwhile, mobile journalism trainer and social media expert, Devadas Rajaram, has a sceptical point of view towards the app. He says, “The name Sarahah, which means ‘honesty’ in Arabic, is a bit misleading. Being anonymous affects your credibility as a communicator. It may be wildly popular with the youth, but I don’t see it going anywhere as a useful app which can play any meaningful role. Like Yik Yak — which was shut down a while ago — and Kik, anonymity can be a double-edged weapon.”

    He’s also wary about the risks Sarahah possesses, “There have already been complaints about cyber bullying and death threats made using the app. Even if you want to share something constructive, anonymity undermines personal warmth. It may remain popular amongst the youth for a while as a new platform for fun to share thoughts. But the biggest downside of the app is its potential for misuse.”

    Even though it’s a little too soon to say when exactly will the app die down, or not… for now Sarahah definitely proves an age-old saying: “Give a man a mask and he will show you his true face.”
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