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Here's What The Sarahah App Is, Because You’re Probably Like “WTF Is This?"

We have answers about the anonymous messaging app that's suddenly blowing up.

Posted on August 10, 2017, at 6:47 p.m. ET

Have you seen people posting strange turquoise screenshots of an app called Sarahah?


It's suddenly everywhere, and we have thE SCOOP.

1. How does Sarahah work?

Everyone gets their own personal webpage on which others can anonymously write messages to them. Ideally positive ones. Like a personal suggestions/compliments box at a restaurant, but you know, for people.

2. Can you reply to the messages?

No, but according to Sarahah's website, the company is "studying this option."

3. Do you need an account to write someone a message?

Nope, anyone can post on your page (unless you make it private).

4. Couldn’t this be used for bullying?


5. Seriously, right? An anonymous thing where you can write to a person? Sounds bad.

Well, it says “Leave a constructive message :)” at the top of the text box. But...yeah.

6. Is it really anonymous? Like if I tell someone “I wanna nuzzle your hog” they won’t know it’s me?

Yes. A few weeks ago, a rumor spread that a hack could reveal who said what, but that was false. Of course, as with any app or website, nothing is ever 100% secure. Is it possible some hackers could steal all the metadata? Sure.

7. Who made this?

Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq, a developer from Saudi Arabia. He told Mashable that his idea was originally for workers to leave anonymous feedback for their bosses. But then he realized that it could be interesting for anyone to use.

I think sarahah is this most stupid idea why invite that kind of negativity into your life

9. How did this app blow up?

It only entered the App Store in early June, but quickly became popular in Saudi Arabia, then spread to Canada and the US, and now it’s blowing up in India — all through word of mouth. There’s a sort of built-in impulse to want to share these messages, so people have been on Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat. People love bragging! The anonymity makes sharing a compliment seem somehow less, well, obviously braggy. Like, maybe you just want to thank whatever person out there said, “your hair looks great!” but the only way to thank that person is to blast it out to all your followers.

Goodnight to everyone except people who put Sarahah on their Snapchat stories

10. Isn’t this just like Curious Cat or Formspring or Yik Yak?

Curious Cat and Formspring are more about asking questions – you could do this on Sarahah, but it’s implied that you’d give a statement not a question: “Your hair looks great!” instead of “what hairspray do you use?” And Yik Yak was more general.

But, yeah. Similar.

these sarahah accounts are giving me flashbacks from 9th grade

Sarahah is proof that nothing is new on the internet and time is a flat circle and we're always morbidly curious about what other ppl think

11. Should I actually make an account? Or is this just opening me up to bullying?

Look, I get it — you’re curious what people would say. Would someone profess their secret crush? Would you get compliments and validation and feel good? Or would someone say something small and petty like, “you really shouldn’t wear red, it’s not your color” that would tear you down and keep you up at night, fuming and questioning yourself.

The appeal is this tension. It’s Russian roulette for your ego. Most likely you’ll get some pleasant comments, but only if you take the risk of getting that soul-crushing loaded chamber.

My opinion? Eh, do it. But more importantly: Promise yourself you’ll only be nice to other people on there. You reap what you sow.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.