After School is back. The anonymous message board application returned to the App Store several hours after it disappeared earlier today. The app is still marketed to students and allows for the anonymous posting of messages. But an Apple spokesperson tells me that the developer made changes to prevent inappropriate and offensive content.
The app now has a 17+ age restriction and users can flag content. Apple told the developer to clean up the content and I couldn’t find any content bullying another person after the app relaunched.
Apple takes reports of cyberbullying and offensive content very seriously. An Apple spokesperson tells me that following TechCrunch’s report last night, Apple’s developer team contacted the developer and asked him to take the app down and make changes. We noticed the app was no longer available around 7:00 am ET this morning, but the app returned around 6:00 pm ET this evening.
Launched just a few weeks ago, After School’s quick rise to notoriety is reminiscent of Yik Yak‘s history. After just a couple of reports of offensive content, the anonymous posting app came under fire as a haven for cyberbullying and eventually, though some would say not quick enough, took steps to restrict access to the demographic posting such material.
Despite the so-called safeguards in place, I was able to log into my local school’s site and browse and post content. There are 735 users on my local high school’s After School board and it’s exactly what I expected, too — high schoolers talking like high schoolers. It’s mostly messages about boyfriends, blowjobs and acne. There was a touch of nudity in some of the pictures, but I couldn’t find a comment targeting another user in an offensive manner.
Today’s update relies on the After School user base to police itself. It allows users to flag content for removal. That alone will not stop cyberbullying, but it should let the company keep tabs on the offensive content.
Apple doesn’t let app producers get away with violating its terms of service, especially with displaying offensive material. I would expect the app to quickly disappear forever if reports continue to surface after today’s update.
After School’s developer still has not returned TechCrunch’s request for comment.