Qinglan Angel Li | Communication, Media and Learning Technologies Design | Mathematics Science and Technology

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Communication, Media & Learning Technologies Design

In the Department of Mathematics, Science & Technology

Mis-use or Mis-design? Yik Yak on College Campuses and the Moral Dimensions of Mobile Technology Design

Qinglan (Angel) Li, M.A. in Communication and Education

Yik Yak is a location-based, anonymous social media app that’s gaining nationwide attention as it spurs racism, sexism, bullying and threat on college campuses around the country. This paper is the first to date that attempts to understand and analyze the ethical implications of Yik Yak based on the current scholarly understanding of anonymity, cyber-bullying, and location specificity. Building a thorough literature review, this paper concludes that there are specific features of Yik Yak’s design that invites, encourages and unites uncivil comments, empowers cyber-bullying and exacerbates the negative impacts such bullying has on its victims’ mental health. Suggestions for how developers can design more ethically responsible mobile apps at each stage of the design process is discussed at the end.

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