The competitive world of social media has a new contender for the throne.
The messaging app Sarahah seeks to pass Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat as the go-to social media app for people who want to leave anonymous comments about other users.
According to the app’s description, Sarahah “helps you in discovering your strengths and areas for improvement by receiving honest feedback from your employees and your friends in a private manner.”
The app, developed by Saudi programmer ZainAlabdin Tawfiq, takes its name from the Arabic word for “honesty.”
Users who download the app and create an account can share a link to their Sarahah account to their other social media platforms. Visitors who follow the link can leave comments without revealing their real names.
Anonymity of the app allows users to post comments without fear of retaliation, which currently allows users to view comments they sent, received or marked as favorites, but does not allow users to respond to comments.
According to the company’s website, the intent behind the app was to allow users to respond anonymously to delicate situations, such as an employee criticizing a supervisor.
However, reports are surfacing regarding comments ranging from compliments to criticism, to sexually explicit, violent and threatening.
Furthermore, the same anonymous nature protecting commenters from retaliation also leaves those receiving the comments vulnerable to cyber-bullying.
Since recipients can’t respond to harassment, it also does not allow those who receive harmful comments to answer back or defend themselves.
After launching last month, Sarahah grew to the most popular app on Apple’s iPhone App Store in more than 25 countries.
However, many commenters on the App Store give the app low ratings due to its capability as a bullying tool.
As one commenter posted, “What did you think was gonna happen if you let people text other people anonymously?”