Upstart social media app sarahah has already produced its fair share of controversy. The app siphoning phone contacts for no reason at all made headlines earlier this week, and although developer Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq had already admitted to it and told his reasons for doing so, flak didn’t skip him one beat. He should be ashamed, his critics said.

And yet many still flock to join the hype. The Sarahah app claims that it provides the user with opinions of people regarding him/her or what they want to say. By signing-up on this app, the users can receive “honest” feedback from their friends, family, employees, co-workers, etc.

What draws people to Sarahah?

On the page of any Sarahah user, you’ll find a simple prompt: “Leave a constructive message :).” The flashing cursor, enclosed in a text box, invites you to pour whatever thoughts you have about that person, good or bad, into an anonymous feed. In a nutshell, your deepest, most real thoughts will be delivered guilt-free.

But as much as it has become a self-esteem machine, there have been several instances online where people have talked about being bullied, or even people being negative towards the developer of the app for fear of what it's going to do. But even setting the bullying aspect aside, it’s hardly been a honeymoon with the Sarahah app. To my knowledge, the app was supposed to be for people who wanted to receive constructive criticisms at work without fear of consequences.

However, the app has now spread far beyond the corporate sphere and is attracting many teens and adults alike, and it’s possible that its creator never envisioned that so many people would be using Sarahah. Technology is value-neutral. Humans are not. That is why what they choose to do with technology changes depending on who is using it and who is being affected by it.

Bullying or betterment?

To quote the great Oscar Wilde, "Man is least himself when he talks in his person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth." If you haven't joined Sarahah and still wish to, you may do that at your own risk. To some extent, using the app is risky, and if you’re the type who takes comments and trolls very seriously, then avoid it by all Means.

There’s no real reason to open yourself up to that sort of treatment unless you’re into psychological masochism.

In this generation where self-esteem is currently quantifiable under likes, shares, and comments, it's a challenge to ignore the app. However, the risks inbuilt in such a platform are too high to ignore. Without the fear of backlash or personal consequence, people really can say ANYTHING they want.

If you've already succumbed to Sarahah's "honesty" on the other hand, never allow trolls and meanies to ruin your day, or worse, your whole life. Go ahead and bask in the glory of flattery, but remember it's a good decision to leave when the environment becomes Toxic.

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