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Yik Yak Gets Less Anonymous With Profiles

The anonymous posting app just became a little less anonymous.

Posted on July 27, 2016, at 2:54 p.m. ET

Starting today, you can make a profile for Yik Yak. This is what it'll look like:

Yik Yak, a location-based app for anonymously posting that's especially popular on college campuses, will offer profiles starting today. While you don't need to use your real name, photo, or any other identifying info, the new feature will make the app a little less anonymous — if you want it to be.

Your profile can contain a bio as well as links to social media accounts like Snapchat and LinkedIn (I can't personally recommend adding your LinkedIn to your Yik Yak profile).

For a service whose core feature was anonymity, this is a huge change. It makes Yik Yak something almost more like Twitter — a platform for posting mostly text thoughts under a handle that can be tied to your real identity if you want.

Although anonymity has a huge appeal, one thing that people inevitably want to do on these kinds of apps is....talk to each other. If you've ever logged on, it's a ton of people who want to meet up, or hook up for sex, or smoke weed, or do whatever nearby. Turns out humans want to talk to each other! Yik Yak added a chat feature earlier this year, and adding profile capability is probably something that Yik Yak is hoping will keep its users engaged.

Plus, adding profiles for Yik Yak might also help its rampant bullying problem. School-specific groups on Yik Yak have been a source of real trouble for the app — turns out teens aren't always so nice once you offer then a free burn book. So while profiles are optional (for now, at least), they might help the company retain users as well as mend its reputation.

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    Katie Notopoulos is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Notopoulos writes about tech and internet culture and is cohost of the Internet Explorer podcast.

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