Number One Downloaded App. ‘Sarahah’ Is Used for Cyberbullying
The then website Sarahah was extremely popular among Egyptian Facebook users, just this last winter. Indeed, it became extremely common to find your timeline saturated with notifications updates, indicating that your Facebook friends have placed a link to the website on their profiles. Your friends would match the update with some sort of status update, and accordingly they expect you to send them a completely honest message using the website.
This is, of course, because the purpose of the website – as its name indicates – is complete honesty, and frankness. According to Saudi programmer Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq, Saraha’s founder, the website now turned app encourages honesty as it allows you to “receive anonymous and honest feedback from your employees and your friends.”
When the website initially launched in the Middle East, people reacted with a lot of humor, especially in Egypt, where several memes started to emerge. Slowly but surely, however, people started to take it seriously. People started giving genuine feedback, containing their honest opinions of others.
The website was one of the most popular visited websites in late 2016 and early 2017 in Egypt . According to Business Insider, the website “has had nearly 2.5 million Egyptian users, along with 1.7 million in Tunisia, 1.2 million in Saudi Arabia, and sizeable followings in Syria and Kuwait,” within the aforementioned time frame.
Given its regional success, Tawfiq decided to officially launch it as an app. The app has come to beat app YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat, in terms of number of downloads. It now reigns the supreme on the App. store. This is a jaw – dropping achievment, considering the fact that Sarahah launched its official presence on Apple’s App. Store just two months ago in June 2017.
Unfortunately, a lot of its users unable to differentiate between constructive criticism, and hate. The screenshots – above and below – indicate the extent to which some users are outraged by how this application is being utilized by some users for severe cyberbullying.
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Rana studied Political Science and Women & Gender Studies, this pretty much means she has something to say about anything and everything, even when she really shouldn’t! She is a serious insomniac, an intense reader, and a firm believer in the power of sarcasm. She has no aspirations towards becoming a politician, but she tends to throw around the “F” word -Feminism – a lot.