Sarahah, an Arabic word that translates to “honesty” and “candor” in the parlance of the English language was till the start of the year just limited to the Arab world. But the word has suddenly acquired popularity of late. Read on to find out why!!
What’s the rage about Sarahah?
“Sarahah”, the word’s on almost everyone’s lips these days, why you ask? It’s because of an anonymous messaging service with the same name started by Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq, a programmer based out of Saudi Arabia.
As per Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq, the anonymous messaging service was started as a workplace feedback tool meant for constructive criticism such that the receiver of the messages can better oneself on a personal level in the aspects mentioned in the message.
It differs from the traditional social media apps, as it doesn’t allow the users to reply to the messages they receive and one cannot directly interact with another (anonymous). The service’s website bio reads “improve friendship by discovering strengths and areas for improvement” and let your friends be honest with you.
The service expanded its reach after the users started using it for regular message drops and confessions. The service started garnering a lot of traction, which led to Tawfiq releasing an app for the same. The service is plugged into the other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter.
Post the release of the app, the service has seen explosive growth in usage. The app, in a matter of merely three months, has climbed the charts to become one of the top free apps being downloaded from both the Google Play store as well as the Apple App store. BBC had reported 20 million active users of the service in the month of February.
Good Cop-Bad Cop
Give someone the power of anonymity and it goes to their head, denied no one. What started out as a platform for constructive criticism has since long moved in to become a platform for internet trolls and hate messages. It has become the epicenter of cyber bullying too.
To aid it in its quest is Sarahah’s USP “Anonymity”. The internet which already provides a filter of anonymity itself is taken a step further with Sarahah. There have been reports of extreme hate messages being sent to users. User reviews for the app on the app stores state the same warning for every new user joining.
As per experts the main issue lies with the minimum age that the app requires one to be, i.e. , 13 years. Experts believe that the tender age of 13 is little too less a threshold for the users to properly understand the ramifications of the app.
Preventive steps?….None really
The step available on any modern social media platform to avoid getting trolled and receive hate messages is the option to delete the account. Sadly the Sarahah app doesn’t feature any such option (a detail overlooked most probably).
The Sarahah website, does however, provide the account deletion feature. One just has to login with the same credentials as the app and follow a simple set if steps to delete the account. The user, during this process, will be intimated that once deleted, the account cannot be resurrected in the future.
A more temporary option available to avoid these hate messages is to block the user sending the messages. This option doesn’t alert the sender or release their identity but does block them till otherwise decided.
Whether to use or not
What can be said with surety is that the app is not at fault, as much as the users are. The app was started with the intention of a set of certain positives, but people with so much freedom cannot be trusted to behave as required with no danger of repercussions being inflicted.
Bottom-line – “To be used to as per one’s discretion.”