University Drops Ban on Social Network Yik Yak

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By Kieran Corcoran | 3:38 am, December 9, 2016

A university has reversed a ban on its students using the social network Yik Yak after pressure from pro-free-speech students.

The University of Aberystwyth had banished all traffic related to the anonymous messaging app from its networks – citing the risk of “hate speech”.

But after fierce opposition from many of its own students – as well as reporting from Heat Street – university officials made a u-turn and let the app come back.

University administrators claimed that the app was being used to bully and harass students, and that while it “supported the principle of free speech”, protecting students was more important.

Officials at the Aberystwyth Students’ Union initially backed the ban and issued a supine statement in support of it.

But after members of the Students Against Censorship campaign forced a vote on the issue, the union changed its mind.

Shortly after, the university backpedaled and undid the ban – which was effectively toothless in the first place, because nothing could stop students accessing the app using mobile data.

In a statement to Heat Street, a spokesman for the University of Aberystwyth said: “We temporarily suspended the Yik Yak app from the university network last week, following reports of potential hate crime and bullying.

“The temporary suspension was implemented following talks with the AU Students’ Union and in line with our policy on the use of the network for non-academic purposes.

“The suspension led to widespread debate on the acceptable use of language and behaviour on social media, which we welcome.

“Following further discussion with the Students’ Union and others, the suspension was lifted on Tuesday – but we will continue to review the issues raised.”

Featured image via Flickr/Alan M Hughes

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