A wildly popular anonymous messaging app has been removed from the Apple and Google Play store after accusations that it had been facilitating bullying. But the company’s chief executive denies the claims and says the app isn’t meant to be used by the 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.
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 live 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 pay store and Google’s play store. The petition accused Sarahah for facilitating “bullying” and “self-harm”, and quickly gained 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 response to request for comment.
Zain-Alabdin Tawfiq, the CEO of Sarahah, has disputed collins allegations. The decision by Apple and Google to remove the app was “unfortunate”, but “is very optimistic about Reaching a favourable understanding with them soon.”
The App has had an up-down ride since it was launched a year ago. It become an instant success-worldwide more than 300 million users have created accounts. Sarahah, which was developed in Saudi-Arabia, topped Apple’s App Store in more than 30 countries in July.
Sarahah simply means Honesty. It aims to allow users to receive anonymous constructive feedback. But Katrina Collins the woman behind the petition says it also facilitates “cyber bullying”.
If its happening to my daughter, then “it might be happening to a hell of a lot of other kids out as well.”