The Scoop on Snapkits Part 2- YOLO

The Scoop on Snapkits Part 2- YOLO

Previously we learned about Snapchat, an app designed for users to share pictures and messages that are only available for a short period before they become inaccessible to their recipients. More specifically, we dove into the world of Snapchat accessories otherwise recognized as Snapkits. The anonymous question and answer platform, coined YOLO (You only live once), can be accessed within a download and three clicks, allowing users enter a new kind of network where identity is fluid.

The premise of this app begins with a comment or question conceived to prompt honest answers from individuals. Once that is created, users are transferred over to Snapchat where they can include the cue in their story or can be sent to their fellow friends. Following the publicizing of the prompt users can swipe up and send anonymous comments or messages to the author. Answers can be posted with your reply on another snap. The result gives friends a sense of comfort knowing they cannot be held accountable for the honesty (or rudeness) within their response.

To encourage respectful behavior, YOLO claims that “YOLO is for positive feedback only. No bullying. If you send harassing messages to our users, you will be banned from the service.” This message appears before users can reply to the prompt before them. Users are also told that if they are reported, their identity will be revealed to the person they are submitting negative comments to. However, after researching and trying out this promise, it is clear that the threat is empty and the identity of the user will remain anonymous no matter what posting occurs. Another discovery concluded that there is no way to ban an individual from accessing YOLO due to the inability of users to log in before sharing their replies.

An $8 million investment was put into engineering the concept of making YOLO a social app where users could shift between full anonymity and representation via avatar. This fueled the introduction of their newest group chat feature. These groups are organized by a given name and then a URL and a postable Snapchat sticker are generated to invite users to this anonymous chat room. Identities are masked by Bitmojis hiding names and any specific Snapchat username details. YOLO advocates that people should join the more open “Party Mode” chat that their friends and friends of friends are active on.

What makes this group chat feature differ from most messaging platforms is the hourly capability to hit the “Superpowers” button and shake things up in the group. Superpowers allow users to send a completely anonymous message to everyone involved in the chat, this button excludes the chat’s only identifier, the Bitmoji. Some of these powers include “Ghost Mode,” which is designated for any anonymous message and “Crush Mode,” to unveil your love without your integrity. Apps that form a false sense of security by allowing users to hide behind a screen can be easily misused and have consistently proved to be safe havens for cyberbullying, gossiping, polling and unsafe behavior.

Snapchat plays a major role in the social media sphere. With trends constantly shifting on digital platforms, it is important to stay engaged and up-to-date on the latest risks some of these applications pose for the safety and well-being of our communities.

This information does not guarantee online safety and is provided as a courtesy of Smart Gen Society.  SGS is not legally responsible for your family's digital planning or safety.