Headline, June 16 2022/ ''' '' SIDECHAT APP SIDESHOW '' '''


 SIDESHOW '' '''

ON THE WORLD STUDENTS SOCIETY we have gone forward everyday with great care and exemplary caution. Not because we want to go slow, but because we have to ensure, 100%, that we get to our objectives.

On the Internet and social media runs, it's just so easy to become overrun with hate speech and harassment. With Almighty God's blessings, no organization, society, country or leadership has ever banned !WOW! from its Wi-Fi networks.

STUDENT YUSUF BAKSHI, a junior at Harvard, recalled getting in line at EI Jefe's Taqueria at 2 a.m in Cambridge Mass, to grab a late-night snack after a recent night out. Mr Bakshi, 20, couldn't help noticing that nearly everyone ahead of him in line was on a phone, scrolling through the same app : Sidechat.

''It's an easy place to see all the jokes and gossip, and it really helps foster a lot of talk of the town,'' Mr. Bakshi said, comparing the app to Lady Whistledown's gossip column in the Netflix series ''Bridgerton.''

In recent months, Sidechat, a buzzy new app where users log in with university-affiliated email addresses and write anonymous posts visible only within their school communities, has racked up downloads at universities including Harvard; Cornell, in Ithaca, N.Y.; Tufts, near Boston; and Columbia in New York City.

Campus newspapers have documented the app's fast-paced growth. In March, the The Cornell Daily Sun wrote that ''the app has quickly become a hallmark of Cornell social life.'' In April, the Harvard Crimson reported that Sidechat ''is taking campus by storm.''

The premise isn't new, but it is irresistible to many students : an opportunity to chat about what's happening on campus with peers, without having their names attached to what they say.

Posts go live without any prior approval and are removed later only if a message is deemed to be in violation of platform guidelines. While some students find the secrecy to be harmless fun, others seem to be emboldened by the anonymity and, as is common online, post caustic and hurtful comments.

Now, some students, many already jaded by past experiences with similar platforms, say they are souring on Sidechat, but they are still signing on.

''It's fun to just post memes and relatable things without having your identity revealed,'' Mr. Bakshi said.

The founders of Sidechat have remained anonymous. A representative of the company, who did not disclose a name, said the founders would not comment for this article. The representative also declined to answer questions sent by email, including the number of schools where the app is currently operating.

Nearly a dozen student ambassadors contacted for this article declined to be interviewed or did not respond to requests for comment.

FOR YEARS, students have flocked to anonymous confession pages on Facebook and Instagram [ Harvard Confessions, for example ] where they can submit posts that are then approved and posted by a moderator.

Formspring became popular in the early 2010s by allowing users to post questions and answers without having to identify themselves. It was quickly filled with cyberbullies who would post threats and hurtful comments aimed at other teenage users. The site shut down in 2013, when the chief executive announced that the maintenance costs had become untenable.

''Anonymous apps are notorious for rapidly rising and falling in popularity,'' said Ysabel Gerrard, a social media researcher at the University of Sheffield in England. ''They attract a user base far larger and faster than their founders anticipate, leaving staff unprepared for the necessary scale of content moderation.''

But the speed of growth of these platforms, and the controversies around them, can be part of the appeal, she added. ''It's also often the case that teens download new apps in the hopes they'll be safer than those preceding them,'' she said.

RABIYA ISMAIL, 22, who was a student at Tufts, said she downloaded Sidechat after seeing another student promoting the app on her class Facebook group. ''It started off fun,'' she said. ''People were just going on to make jokes about campus and post memes.''

But just a few weeks later, after seeing that the app had become flooded with hateful posts,'' Ms. Ismail deleted it.

''We've had a lot of xenophobic and racist comments,'' she said. ''If low-income students make a post complaining about wealth on campus, there will always be a comment saying,'' Well, I'm sorry you're poor.''

The Honour and Serving of the latest global operational research on students, college campuses, and happenings in technology, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Anna P. Kambhampaty.

With respectful dedication to the Grandparents, Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers of America and then the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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