Sarahah.com follows the likes of Ask.fm and Sayat.me to provide a platform to share “constructive” feedback. The site markets itself as a window that helps people write feedback and/or compliments to fellow coworkers, colleagues, and other groups by allowing users to send anonymous messages to each other and replying directly to the feedback received. This has enabled Sarahah to gain the title of the most popular free app. The developers claim that the purpose of this app as a platform that “helps you in discovering your strengths and areas of improvement by receiving honest feedback from your employees and friends in a private manner.”
However, such sites have always found themselves criticised for promoting cyberbullying where the users are met with abusive responses and malicious content. In times like ours, where our self image is driven mostly by our social media status, such platforms can aggravate the situation. Anonymous feedback can do more damage than good, leaving the recipient pushed further in a state of self loathing. As smoothly as it promises to help people grow through productive criticism, it can destroy people’s self-belief and become an easy tool for revenge posts. Catering to a younger audience, it can leave a feeling of vengeance and bitterness especially amongst teens. Platforms like these can easily be misused to write destructive feedback instead of an encouraging and progressive post. Increasing popularity of such platforms is alarming as it’s indicative of the fact that we as a generation are becoming more and more dependent on external sources for validation. The platform has opened the floodgates of online harassment due to the feature of anonymity. These pieces of feedback can often turn into offensive statements which have potentially adverse consequences.
“I joined Sarahah all in good humour, but after I started receiving sexually abusive messages, I was compelled to quit the forum. It is already a hateful world and I think anonymous forums just further worsens this hatred,” says a Sarahah user.
These derogatory and snide comments may be aimed at shaming and discouraging someone, passing lewd remarks, making sexual advances, and other types of hatred channeled through the capability of being an unknown sender. The cyberbullying propagated by this app has become a concern of the general audience as suggestive of the reviews of the app. Apps that allow anonymity can be easily manipulated as a tool for hatred and gullible users usually fall prey to it.
Feature Image Credits: Sarahah