The Anonymous Yik Yak Threat
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Politics and Activism

The Anonymous Yik Yak Threat

The Anonymous Yik Yak Threat

The other morning, I woke up to a series of texts about a twisted individual who thought posting an anonymous bomb threat on Yik Yak was humorous. Waking up to the hysteria of whether or not to go to class was not how I pictured my Thursday morning. I went through the alarming Facebook posts, concerning Yik Yak responses, and the various text messages, and while they all shocked me, the only thought I had was what has this country turned into. 

School shootings, gun violence, anonymous attacks, and terror threats have always existed, and will never cease to exist. However, the celebrity status that comes with committing these atrocities is a negative consequence of society's obsession with social media and internet fame. 

With heightened security measures everywhere, it makes you wonder, why would someone want to publicize a premeditated attack? It is because there is a social media platform for almost anything imaginable, and when there is a platform, there is an audience. An anonymous posting that discusses a violent attack, or thought, will get a response and will draw attention whether the threat pans out, or not; that is the scary part. The person who wrote that post will, ultimately, get what they want. They got a large group of people scared, enraged, mad and worried. They got an entire audience talking about them. 

The last few months, a number of schools have experienced anonymous threats via Yik Yak, or YouTube comments, and while some were empty threats, some were real. In September, the University of Alabama experienced an anonymous threat against the residents of an all-girl dorm on campus. The campus was on a partial lockdown, and the campus took it seriously. While the threat never panned out, it caused heightened fear and brought attention to an anonymous YouTube account.

Unfortunately, the other day at Florida State, a shooting occurred in the library, where the gunman injured three victims before getting killed by police. It is this feared outcome that causes such hysteria and rapid responses from those who work to keep us safe, when anonymous threats are made.

This celebrity status was also seen with the Boston Marathon bomber who went on to be the cover story for one of the July issues of Rolling Stone Magazine. While it may seem that anonymous Yik Yak threats should not be viewed at the same level of the Boston Marathon bombing, it still creates a culture where attackers gain attention and status, and it takes away from the victims, loss of life, or even the efforts from the hard workers who respond to keep us safe. The focus becomes the incident and the individual -- or group -- who committed the attack, when the focus should be on the victims and the hard workers who did everything in their power to stop it and help the victims.

It is time for a change, where we can live in a world where the attackers are not made into celebrities but, instead, remain unnamed and forgotten. 

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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