Students should practice caution with anonymity

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College students have become far too comfortable online when it comes to content some post “anonymously.”

An anonymous social media app called Yik Yak recently came under fire by different college campuses due to threatening remarks made on the Mizzou campus amid racial tension and protests. One of the comments read, “I am going to stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every black person I see.” 

But besides the obvious racist and illegal implications of this story, there is a far deeper issue going on. Some students believe they can post anything online as long as it is an anonymous user board and they don’t have to face the repercussions. Here at Dixie State University, this has become a problem as well with some apps, such as Yik Yak and Snapchat.

Yik Yak is a ridiculous app thats purpose is for students on college campuses to anonymously post anything they want, and people within a certain mile radius can read it. All sorts of things are posted on this site, and for the most part, they are just posts about sleeping in class and looking for drugs. While I scrolled through the app, I quickly realized all these students don’t realize what they put online can have serious consequences. 

Many campuses are dealing with illegal activity being discussed on this app. In an article by USA today, a reporter asked college security officers if they use the social media app to monitor students, and school administrator Rick Tupper from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said, “Social media does help us when we’re trying to follow that road map of a crime to figure out what happened and when and who was involved.”

There are many stories about students being arrested for what they have posted on Yik Yak, but by looking at the posts in our area, it would appear students do not care their accounts may be monitored. I believe students are ignorant to the fact that anyone can track down who posted the yak or snap, and they should do research on the many examples of students getting in trouble for such posts.

Students on DSU’s campus curated a Snapchat account called the RedStormsnap. Students could send photos to the account, which would be published onto the account’s public story. Everything was posted on this Snapchat, including pictures of school events, parties, drug use, nude photos, and an abundance of drunk people.

While RedStormsnap was aimed for DSU students, anyone could follow the account and view the pictures people posted. Because of how the account worked, whoever is in charge of this account now has hundreds of photos in his or her possession. While many people did not show their faces in photos they sent, the page owner had to receive the pictures and knows who these people are. This concerns me for the future of those students if the owner of the account decided to release their identities. 

The RedStormsnap has been either deleted or removed from Snapchat at this time. 

Students at DSU and across the country need to realize that just because a website or app is advertised as anonymous, there is a large chance that it is not. The app developers have your data, such as IP addresses and phone numbers. Posting on these apps can have larger repercussions then may be realized, and we should be cautious about what we post there.