Yappa, a Black-owned tech company, has raised $3.5 million to help combat online harassment.
Founded in 2015 by Jennifer Dyer and Kiaran Sim, Yappa is a tool that prevents social media and news website users from hiding behind anonymous comments. Currently, the company services Vox, The Hill, and PerezHilton.com, and over 400 other clients. Users interested in leaving comments on sites that use Yappa must create Yappa accounts and submit their comments via audio or video. Forcing users to identify themselves before commenting cuts down on nasty remarks and harassment. Currently, the company has reported only a 2% violation rate across all platforms it services.
“We were really trying to put the power back in the publishers’ hands to foster good behavior and give them the social tools that they need to keep their audience on their side,” says Sim.
On April 13th, Yappa announced a $3.5 million Series A led by Future Media Limited. The majority of the funding will be used to enhance existing features, such as user-to-user direct messaging. New features will also be installed, such as “like pages” where users with similar interests can connect.
“There’s just a lot of toxicity when you don’t have to put yourself on that front line; you don’t have to own your voice, you don’t have to own your responsibility, you can be anonymous. We wanted to provide a tool where people were going to be able to have civil conversations,” Dyer explained.