It might have raised $73.5 million during its three years of existence, but anonymous social network Yik Yak’s prospects have been clouded by stunted growth, reports The Verge.
Yik Yak’s popularity was largely attributed to the social network’s strong focus on anonymity, allowing student to post comments without their identities being tied to them. As the app grew, Yik Yak took its first steps away from this model when it allowed users to attach handles to their posts. This option soon became a requirement in September, which led to poor reviews on the App Store.
This, when combined with reports of bullying and harassment, as well as schools being placed on lockdown due to threats made through the app, led to Yik Yak’s growth coming to a halt around the same time that Tom Chernetsky, the company’s original CTO, jumped ship. It looks like the bad news did not stop there, however, as sources revealed that 30 out of Yik Yak’s 50 employees have now been laid off, with the community, marketing, design, and product teams hit the hardest.
“We recently made some strategic changes at Yik Yak in line with our key areas of focus for the company,” said Yik Yak CEO Tyler Droll in an email to The Verge. “Unfortunately, as part of that, we had to make the difficult decision to lay off a portion of the team. We are incredibly appreciative of their contributions toward making Yik Yak the special place for college students around the world that it is today.”
The company confirmed that app development is ongoing, but with Yik Yak outside of the top 1,500 most downloaded apps, the 20 employees left will have to find new avenues of growth if they want to push forward.