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Sayat.me

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Sayat.me App Poster Image
Anonymous feedback from friends, strangers, too risky.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Created for entertainment only. Not intended for educational purposes. 

Ease of Play

Limited interface makes sending and receiving feedback easy. 

Violence

No violence in the app itself, but user-created content could contain references to or images of violence. 

Sex

No sex in the app itself, but user-created content could contain suggestive references and/or imagery. 

Language

No profanity in the app itself, but user-created content could contain bad language. 

Consumerism

Ads appear on pages; among other things, ads push products like dating/hookup apps and gambling. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

No substance use in the app itself, but user-created content could contain references to or images of drinking, drugs, and smoking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sayat.me is a free social networking app that enables users to send and receive anonymous feedback. Users sign up through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or VK (a Russian social media service) or by creating a username and password. A registration message says users must be 16 or older, but the terms of use state that users must be over 18. When you log in, the app asks for your location, email, and birth date (giving this information is optional). The app soft-matches you with users according to self-selected hashtag descriptions, and you can search strangers, follow them, and send anonymous feedback to them. User profiles can contain suggestive images and text, profanity, and references to substance usage. In-app ads contain (among other things) ads for dating/hookup apps and mobile gambling. Some security exists with settings allowing users to report and block other users and prevent unregistered users to send feedback, but profiles can contain links to users' third-party accounts (Instagram, Twitter, etc.). And though the terms of use urge users to be kind and constructive, the app does little to prevent bullying. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change 

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What's it about?

SAYAT.ME is a social networking app (related to a website of the same name) that lets users exchange anonymous feedback. Originally created for use in a corporate environment, it's intended to help individuals improve their professional and interpersonal skills and "build their brand." Upon registering, users choose two to five hashtags to describe themselves, and the app suggests other users with similar hashtags. Users can solicit criticism by posing questions for friends and colleagues to answer, or wait for it to arrive organically. They can also choose whether to submit feedback anonymously or with their username attached, and can respond (publicly or privately) to received feedback. Note: Though feedback can come in the form of text or imagery and isn't strictly monitored, it's possible to block or report users who send bullying or obscene content. 

Is it any good?

Like seemingly all other anonymous feedback apps, this one's tailor-made for bullying. Back in 2017, the media blamed the app for a UK teen's suicide, and despite algorithms and profanity-blocking, the app's inherent risk is the anonymity itself. 

The app's terms of use go on at length about the developer's abhorrence of bullying and encourages users to express themselves in a "humble" way. It then offers something of a disclaimer that "not all feedback is positive" and tells users "not to get mad" and to "seek help" if using the app causes negative feelings. These things should of course, go without saying, but those disclaimers and warnings don't stop people from using the app to hurt others. It does contain a built-in profanity filter that stops you from sending feedback with swear words in it, but the bully-blocking AI the app claims it has (and that's supposed to stop you from sending mean and threatening messages) is either broken or nonexistent. And though you can turn off the Anonymous toggle and send feedback with your username attached, users can respond (either publicly or privately) to feedback, and this could spark some nasty exchanges. Worse yet, the built-in search function lets you shop strangers' profiles, follow them, and send them feedback. No good can come of that; if bullies don't take advantage of it, online predators will; the latter will no doubt enjoy the private messaging and the ability to send photos. Though Sayat.me functions fine, and can provide well-adjusted adults the criticism -- or praise -- they might crave, kids under 18 should stay as far away from it as possible. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about anonymous apps like Sayat.me. What are the risks that come with anonymous communication? Why do you think so many people want to use apps like this, despite those risks?

  • Think about giving and receiving criticism. Is there ever a time you should criticize someone anonymously? When might it be useful? 

  • Discuss the damage words can do. What can you do to help make sure that kind of damage doesn't happen?

App details

  • Device: Android
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free (contains in-app ads.)
  • Release date: August 1, 2016
  • Category: Social Networking
  • Size: 2.30 MB
  • Publisher: SayAt.Me LLC
  • Version: 2.0.12
  • Minimum software requirements: Android 3.0 and up

For kids who love social networking and apps to help with mental health

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