Launched last year, anonymous messaging app Sarahah is no longer available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The messaging app hit popularity for allowing anyone to send messages to people in their contact list, without having to reveal their identity. It is pretty much similar to the confessions pages on social networking sites such as Orkut.
Developed by Saudi programmer Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq, Sarahah was quick to fall down in popularity as people starting misusing the app. Users receiving anonymous messages complained of abuse in the name of ‘honest feedback’.
Things took an ugly turn for the app when Katrina Collins started a petition on change.org after her 13-year-old daughter received messages to kill herself. The petition received over 4.7 lakh signatures from around the world. In India, the app allegedly drove a Mangaluru girl to contemplate suicide, much like the infamous Blue Whale Challenge, after receiving abusive messages.
As Moneycontrol reports, Sarahah developer Tawfiq contested Colin’s claim and said that the decision to remove the app by Apple and Google was ‘unfortunate’. The developer further said that he is very optimistic about reaching a favorable understanding with them soon.
Defending the app, Tawfiq further said that Sarahah had a filtering mechanism which did not let offensive messages reach their intended receiver. However, it is to be noted that the anonymous messages could only be read and not responded to.
In addition to bullying, the app was also accused of discreetly uploading a users’ contact list on the company’s servers for a feature which did not even exist in the app. Even as the app appears removed from the app stores, a report on newstracklive states that if you already have the app installed, it will work normally.