A British university has banned its students from using the social media app Yik Yak on its campus, prompting an uproar over freedom of speech.
The University of Aberystwyth said that it was worried that the app – which lets users post anonymous messages – was being used for “hate crimes”.
As a result, it announced it would “temporarily” stop the app being used on any of its online networks.
In a statement emailed to the entire student body, said it felt compelled to override concerns about freedom of speech by the need to “safeguard” students.
The statement said: “Whilst we support the principle of freedom of speech, we have a duty to protect our community and network users”.
The president of the students’ union lined up to support the decision, saying it was her duty to “keep students safe, happy and healthy”.
Neither body offered any evidence of the “potential hate crimes” they cited.
Yik Yak has become a prominent social media outlet on UK campuses. It lets users upload comments and pictures to conversations happening near them, lending itself to conversations in libraries, halls of residence and the like.
Although the ban prevents students using the app while logged in to university networks, it is unlikely to affect anybody using Yik Yak with mobile data packages.
Nonetheless, students still objected to the incursion into how they talk to their peers.
One said: “University, the place you are able to express yourself, do and say as you want… Unless you’re at Aberystwyth.”
“True colours show” said another user about the President of Students’ Union.
Featured image via Flickr/Alan M Hughes