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Social Media App that Led to Bomb Scare Now Blocked at Most Schools

Company officials at Yik Yak have moved to block the app around 85 percent of the country's middle and high schools.

Orange County Sheriff's deputies conduct a bomb sweep at San Clemente High School earlier this month. Patch photo credit: Penny Arévalo.
Orange County Sheriff's deputies conduct a bomb sweep at San Clemente High School earlier this month. Patch photo credit: Penny Arévalo.

The makers of a phone app linked to a bomb scare at San Clemente High School earlier this month have blocked areas around most of the country’s high schools and middle schools, finding that children are not ready for the responsibility of anonymity.

Orange County Sheriff’s deputies were monitoring March 6 an increasingly popular social media app called Yik Yak, which allows users to post anonymously, not even requiring email accounts to sign in, when they discovered the bomb threat against San Clemente High in South Orange County.

“It indicated there may be a bomb on campus. We acted accordingly," Lt. Jeff Hallock said at the time.

The school was immediately put on lockdown mode until bomb-sniffing dogs and deputies searched the campus and gave the all-clear.

The incident followed concerns in Illinois that the app was being used to cyber-bully students.

Yik Yak works with the GPS in a phone to set up geographical boundaries where users can post pretty much anything they want. According to a blog in the Huffington Post by local parent Diana Graber, Yik Yak officials contacted a Vermont company called Maponics to help place "geo-fences," or virtual walls, around schools, thus blocking kids from using the app.

Yik Yak co-founder Tyler Droll confirmed the app is no longer available at 85 percent of the country’s middle and high schools.

For the remaining 15 percent, “if kids start using it at a school we have not blocked yet, then the best option is for someone to contact us and we will block it as soon as possible,” Droll told Patch. 

venicebeachpress.com March 28, 2014 at 10:21 AM
How does the app lead to the.bomb scare? The kid could have posted a scare on patch. Should they take away patch app too?
Amanda LaRosa March 28, 2014 at 12:58 PM
From my perspective, it's not how it's used, it is that the technology *exists* that's the story. How else can it be used, and for what purposes?
Brian Hamilton March 28, 2014 at 02:07 PM
HOW is it the App's fault? That's like blaming the telephone for the conversation.
just a parent March 28, 2014 at 03:03 PM
With Yik Yak there is no way to trace who made threats against people or property. On the other hand, most apps such as Patch require you to sign in with an email before selecting a moniker; thus, inappropriate posts can be traced. There is really no reason for students at a high school or middle school to have the ability to post anonymously without recourse on this or any other site. In fact, the app is meant for people over 17 years old; yet, there is no way to police the age of the anonymous users. Glad it is blocked around middle and high schools.

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