It’s been called “Tinder for teens” and it’s the second most popular app in the UK after Tinder itself. ‘Yellow‘ is an app designed for “making amazing new friends” to chat with. But the problem is there are no age limitations for signing up, and the app doesn’t verify the user’s age when they create a profile.
Just like Tinder, users can swipe right to ‘like ‘ and left to pass. Teens as young as 13 are using it and, according to The Telegraph, they’re using it to start relationships. Reports from Refinery 29 show how a user can sign up saying they’re “a boy looking for a girl” and ‘match’ with girls accordingly.
The app – which more than five million people have downloaded – also allows users to add strangers on Snapchat, a platform for publicly and privately sharing pictures and videos.
“It’s clear that it’s meant to be Tinder for teenagers and it’s quite creepy,” 16-year-old Harry Rogers, from Dorset, told The Times. “Anyone can sign up with no checks and there are lots of teenage girls there, and some obviously fake profiles.”
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) in the UK is afraid the app will be used by paedophiles to view images of, and groom, young teens.
“Any app that allows strangers to send photos to children or vice versa is troubling – particularly where the images being exchanged are of a sexual nature,” a spokesman for the NSPCC said. “And Yellow’s settings that enable adults to view children, through a service blatantly aimed at flirting and relationships, also creates an opportunity for sexual predators to target young people. This needs to be urgently addressed.”
The company has issued a response, saying they are working on a solution.
“In the new app, which will be available in a few days, any user wanting to edit a new date of birth, will have to send proof of ID to our customer service so as to avoid this kind of situations,” a Yellow developer said. However, this verification will not be conducted when users sign-up. “Like other social networks we are not asking for proof of ID to sign up. We are looking for the best compromise between privacy and users’ security.”
At the moment, underage users can not discover people who are older than 18 years, and vice versa. But this restriction is all-too-easily circumnavigated by signing up with a fake date of birth.