Selfie of Shantell Martin, @shantell_martin
@shantell_martin

It's about to start looking a whole lot more like Instagram.

By Kia Kokalitcheva
July 15, 2015

Yik Yak — the Twitter-meets-anonymous-local-gossip for college campuses — is officially committing to letting its users post photos on the service.

On Wednesday, the Atlanta-based startup said that, after testing photos with a select number of users, it will be rolling the new feature to all its users in the coming days. Yik Yak’s app lets users post content — usually anonymously unless they decide to make their identity more obvious through their username — into a feed that’s based on location, ideally limited to their college campus or nearby area.

Until now, they could only share text, but now Yik Yak’s feeds might start to resemble photo-sharing service Instagram a whole lot more. The app will also feature photo collections within its Peek feature, which lets users temporarily parachute into other campuses or areas’ local feeds.

There is of course a catch: “no inappropriate photos (anything you wouldn’t send to your mother), illegal content, or faces will be allowed in local feeds,” and it will approve photos before allowing them into the feeds, the startup says. It will, however, let users submit photos of themselves with a friend to the photo collections, though it’s not clear how it will really know they’re not of complete strangers.

The no-selfie policy is likely an attempt at preventing online bullying by keeping users’ — and other people’s — identities anonymous. Yik Yak likely learned from the debacles other anonymous sharing apps endured in the past, such as Secret’s ban on user-uploaded photos after some began to post images of real people with malicious gossip.

Yik Yak is also rolling out a new security measure that will ask users once for their phone numbers to make sure they’re not bots.

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