Racist app post prompts Lewis & Clark protest

Post made on Yik Yak app

The protest at Lewis and Clark College, November 18 2015. (KOIN)
The protest at Lewis and Clark College, November 18 2015. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Students at Lewis & Clark College gathered on Wednesday morning to show their support for African American students on campus after an anonymous racist message was posted on social media.

The racist message included threats of violence against African American students and was posted on the smartphone app Yik Yak.

School officials tell KOIN they passed the message on to police.

Police say, while they are still investigating, the posts do not appear to be a violation of Oregon law.

Yik Yak provides a feed of anonymized comments from people physically around them, such as on the same college campus. It’s by far the most widely adopted, anonymous, location-based applications at schools. It’s also been used by students at dozens of campuses to make offensive comments and threaten mass violence.

However, the Yik Yak posts aren’t nearly as anonymous as they believe: in Missouri, police within hours arrested a student accused of threatening violence, the latest in a string of such arrests at colleges in recent months involving threats of mass violence posted online using the service.

Yik Yak’s fine print says the service can disclose to police each user’s Internet protocol address and GPS coordinates, along with details about the phone or tablet, and date and time for each message. To help authenticate its customers, the service requires each user to provide a phone number to sign up.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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