Over the last week or so, you might have seen an app slowly making its way across your social networks, called Sarahah. The app actually launched a few months ago, and it’s been growing in regions like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, according to a BBC report, but now it’s suddenly becoming a big hit in India. The Sarahah app is meant for sending and receiving feedback from others, anonymously. The creators described it by saying: Sarahah helps people self-develop by receiving constructive anonymous feedback.
Sarahah can be downloaded by both Android and iOS users. It is available on Google Play Store as well as on App Store. The app hit the Play Store only in February, and within just a few months the app has spread like wild fire and has managed to get over 50 lakh downloads already. The Sarahah app has millions of users and has been at the top of Apple’s App Store for weeks in dozens of countries.
Sarahah used to only exist as be a website created by the Saudi Arabian developer Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq. It had a very simple purpose — it allowed employees to post anonymous feedback to their employers. It gave a voice to those who had something to say, but never spoke up for fears that they could be fired.
Later on, Tawfiq thought that this concept could apply on a personal level too, with friends and acquaintances anonymously giving feedback to each other. That part of the website is what actually made it popular in the Middle East and Africa. However, a little more was needed for it to take off in the West. Tawfiq on June 13 released an app version of Sarahah on both the iOS App Store and Google Play. And as expected, it went viral.
Essentially, there are two reasons why Sarahah app is going viral. One, it is a very simple app to use. All you need to do is sign up for it and then share your ID with friends, or foes for that matter. After that you will get messages, which come up in a simple and easy-to-read chat bubble. Posting messages is simple and the receiving them is simpler.
The main reason why Sarahah is going viral is because of the basic character among everyone – narcissism. For a generation that has grown up on Facebook and Instagram, two more platforms that are essentially all about self-obsession, Sarahah provides ananother outlet that help users smart under the impression that the world revolves around them. Well, it definitely worked.
How does it actually work?
In Arabic, Sarahah means honesty.This is an anonymous messaging app that lets people send messages to any random person if that person has the app installed. To find thatperson either you will have the link to that person’s Sarahah profile or you can search for the profile through the user ID or email address. Although, given the anonymous nature of the app, the search functionality is not as good as what you get in Facebook. Yes, searching for Aggarwal or Agrawal or Aggraval is going to test your patience.
Is this a non cliché way of cyber-bullying?
Being anonymous has got its perks and Sarahah, if misused, can be be a platform for cyber-bullying. The app has already received many complaints from users being constantly cyber-bullied. Critics on social media have said the anonymity granted by Sarahah gives users “an excuse to bully people” and that it will lead to abuse. Tawfiq has denied claims Sarahah is a tool for abuse, saying it is designed for “constructive feedback”. But the company recently added a tool that lets users block messages from senders who may have sent offensive messages. When blocking a contact, Sarahah won’t reveal who sent the message but will make sure they are not able to send any more.