“Let me know what you think of me :)”
It’s been posted thousands of times, along with a link with an illustration of a white envelope on a turquoise background. The aim of Sarahah, a new app quickly growing in popularity, is to be honest. The app, created in Saudi Arabia, topped U.S. iTunes charts in early August.
The app allows users to send anonymous messages to their friends, enemies or really whoever they want. No one can see who the messages are from, or reply to them. The app sprung to No. 1 in 30 countries within a month, and had more than 1 billion page views, the app developers tweeted.
Designed for productivity and improvement at work, the app originally was meant to “help you in discovering your strengths and areas for improvement by receiving honest feedback from your employees and your friends in a private manner,” according to the iTunes description. Users are downloading it in hope of receiving gushing compliments from friends and family, for a little pick-me-up on a bad day or to just boost their self esteem.
But some App Store reviewers are calling it a “breeding ground for hate,” according to Business Insider. Users said the app “isn’t for the weak-hearted” and that “it’s just another way for people to talk behind your back.” Others, however, are defending it, saying if users can’t handle the negative comments, they shouldn’t be on it in the first place.
Sarahah isn’t the first anonymous messaging app that led critics to voice concerns. Formspring.me, one of the original anonymous question and answer sites, became a playground for teenage bullies, The Verge reported. Similar anonymous messaging apps like ask.fm, Lulu and Yik Yak both also have led to hate crimes, bullying and criminal investigations, and have even been blamed for some teen suicides, according to Vice’s Motherboard.
But even with the bullying and negative effects from these types of apps, people keep coming back to them.
The big question now, according to the Financial Times, is whether Sarahah can survive the trolls.