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Sarahah Returns to Android App Store, Tapps Google’s Perspective ML Platform to Help Fight Cyberbullying

Powerful algorithms that filter beyond simple keywords have already culled out over 3 million negative messages as Sarahah implements a suite of features designed to enhance user privacy and safety


SAN FRANCISCO, CA – WEBWIRE

Sarahah, a self-development platform where users share honest and constructive feedback, today announces sweeping technological improvements to combat cyberbullying as the updated app launches in the Google Play store. The enhanced app offers a suite of features to boost user privacy and safety with Sarahah’s messages now processed by Google’s Perspective machine learning platform that provides advanced filtration. 

Cyberbullying among teenagers has become increasingly prevalent around the world. Disturbingly, in the United States alone nearly 87 percent of teenagers have witnessed cyberbullying, with more than one-third having experienced it personally. Consequently, parents and online safety organizations have grown increasingly vocal about cyberbullying and its potentially deadly consequences, prompting companies like Facebook and Instagram to implement tools and improve their algorithms to curb the risk of bullying on their platforms. In light of this, Sarahah has taken concrete measures to discourage cyberbullying on its platform and encourage positive rapport among community members. 

“We built Sarahah to be a platform for people to feel comfortable sharing and receiving honest and helpful feedback,” said Zain-Alabdin Tawfiq, founder and CEO of Sarahah. “We’re protecting this mission and the users on our platform by implemented significant and tangible updates to prevent cyberbullying on our platform. We’re excited to have world-class technology and experts to better guide policy as we take concrete steps toward providing a better and safer service.”

Sarahah’s upgrades center on enhanced internal filtration technology that works in tandem with Google’s marquee Perspective platform, which employs an advanced machine learning API to identify and disable inappropriate messages that contain negative sentiment. Now, sentences like “jump off a cliff” that cannot be filtered by simple keyword filters can now be culled out. The powerful technology has filtered over 3 million negative messages since its deployment returning the focus of the app to providing users 17+ with a safe space for feedback and self-improvement. 

“Sexual harassment directly affects absences and attrition of women in the workplace but the fear of losing the hard found job discourages women from talking about it openly,” said Pallavi Pareek, managing partner of Ungender, an India-based organization working to address gender inequality in the workplace. “Sarahah opened up a safe avenue for women to ask questions about workplace sexual harassment issues which (before the #metooo movement) was not a common topic of discussion.”

In addition to one of the world’s most powerful sentiment analysis engines, the updated app launches with other critical changes that encourage positive rapport and discourage cyberbullying or negative feedback, including:

  • Increased Privacy Measures: Sarahah has no access to personal contacts. Friends are only able to access a Sarahah page if a user chooses to share his or her link directly or intentionally lists the link to make it publicly searchable. 
  • Choose Who Can Send You Messages: Users now have the option to limit receiving feedback from logged-in users or even use their account only to give feedback.
  • Streamlined Process For Reporting Abuse: Users can now flag accounts misusing the platform with a single click, and reports are categorized to make sure that the violations are properly detected.
  • Option to Disable Targeted Ads: Sarahah ads may be tailored to your interest; if users no longer wish to see tailored ads, they can easily disable this option from settings.
  • Profile-Linked “Think Boxes:” Users can link opinions or thoughts to their profiles reducing the potential for bullying related to anonymous comment threads. 

What’s more, Sarahah has improved its customer support systems with new company hires. Notably, the company includes a community manager who is responsible for monitoring the platform usage, as well as a full customer support team to more efficiently address any user issues. Further, Sarahah is working with a California-based law firm -- widely considered one of the most prestigious law firms in the world -- to ensure full compliance with all rules and regulations, and hired a US-based consultancy firm, VSC, which is helping to engage online safety stakeholders in line with the company’s direction and focus on mitigating cyberbullying. 

To learn more about Sarahah, visit: https://www.sarahah.com/

About Sarahah
Sarahah is a self-development platform where users share honest and constructive feedback. Powered by Google Perspective machine learning, the company is pioneering solutions to combat cyberbullying while preserving the value of honest feedback. Launched with the vision of creating a platform for self-improvement, tens of millions of users from all over the world use Sarahah to gather feedback from peers. 
 



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