Yik Yak is back. The social media app known for anonymous posts was shut down in 2017 due to hate speech and cyberbullying, but now with brand new owners, the app has returned with promises of a less toxic and more positive environment. Yik Yak had a lot of ups and downs, so it is only fitting to look at the different aspects of this grand return.

Yik Yak launched in 2013 with a very straightforward concept — users can post messages anonymously, visible to others within a 5-mile radius of their location. Messages can be upvoted or downvoted and can be commented on. The app does not allow any users to follow others or send them personal messages. The app has a “Yakarma” feature, which assigns points to users based on the amount of engagement their posts receive.

At its height, Yik Yak was extremely popular around college campuses, but also in middle and high schools. Students would be in close proximity, so discussion about classes was encouraged. Students could ask questions that they might have been embarrassed to ask in person. Another benefit was the sense of community that Yik Yak could provide — people met friends and made plans on the app. There were even more substantial positive effects of using the app, including giving platforms to marginalized voices on campus. There was even a point where a student helped another student through suicidal thoughts at the College of William & Mary, according to a 2015 article from NPR.

Despite these wholesome moments, the negative parts of Yik Yak grew more apparent and were instrumental in its eventual dissolution in 2017. Yik Yak became feeding ground of cyberbullying and harassment, including racist remarks and hate speech, which led to many schools banning the app. In 2016, the use of the app dropped by 76 percent compared to the year before. A year later, it was announced that Yik Yak was done for good — until now.

The app will apparently feature less hate speech and harassment due to the new “Community Guardrails.” Violating these rules could result in a permanent ban from using the app. If a Yak reaches five downvotes, the post is deleted.

Samantha Sanito, a junior majoring in biology, has been a regular user of this new version of Yik Yak. She described the types of messages that are being circulated in the Binghamton area.

“I would say most messages are humorous,” Sanito wrote in an email. “Most are jokes about the school and different professors and things students can relate to.”

Yik Yak has become a funny and amusing pastime for users like Sanito. Jokes about Greek life are abundant, as well as more niche jokes, such as professional tennis player Roger Federer’s last name being mostly “er.” There are a few serious posts of people reaching out or being open with others, but the majority is joking around between students.

The vibe of Yik Yak seems to be carrying on the content that was used previously. College campuses are gathering together to gossip and make inside jokes. With that trend, though, the app could find itself declining again the way it did in 2016. At the end of the day, the protection against cyberbullying might not matter — sometimes users just lose interest as trends fade. Apps similar to Yik Yak, such as Whisper and Spout, never reached the heights of popularity that Yik Yak had. Has the concept been worn out? Yik Yak could possibly thrive for a bit longer, but like many popular social media apps before it, something else could easily replace it to become the next talk of the town.