This article contains explicit content.
For every landmark Q&A with a sitting congressman on the platform, there’s a virulent racist outburst, borderline pornography, borderline-illegal pornography, or a teenager arrested for murder after snapping a selfie with the victim’s body.
The company’s inevitable crackdown on illicit content has ensnared a set of easily identified targets: accounts that chronicle the wild side of college campus life. Arizona State University’s SunDevil_Nation is a prime example—undergrads upload pictures of their booze, boob-grabbing, and bongs to admins who string them all together for a lengthy Snapchat “Stories,” montage posts publicly available to anyone who finds and follows the account.
Snapchat routinely deletes these accounts, but they’re playing a game of Whac-a-Mole. Most users simply change the punctuation in their handle (SunDevil_Nation became SunDevil.Nation) and warn their fans of the change just before the hammer comes down. Recently, however, some have migrated to a different app altogether: Yeti Campus Stories.
Yeti is the no-holds-barred hybrid app of an 18-year-old binge drinker’s dreams.
Yeti, by comparison, offers “the full story.” Where Snapchat has an age rating of 12+, Yeti’s is a hard 17+. It promises images of “Infrequent/Mild Realistic Violence” and “Frequent/Intense Mature/Suggestive Themes,” as well as a fair amount of drug use.
The photos come from University of Colorado Boulder, Auburn University, University of South Carolina, West Virginia University, University of Florida, Kansas University, and University of Tennessee, and several more.
In Yeti’s recent batch of spring break photos, you’ll find drinking games, white powder and hundred-dollar bills, laughing young people with the caption “Shrooms,” birthday candles sticking out of water bongs, containers of muscle relaxers and Adderall, enormous nuggets of weed, and “post-smash” selfies and nude photos, a troubling trend we’ll get to later.
Here’s a safe-for-work recap:
Jews vs. Nazis:
Pre-sex and post-sex selfies:
And as for Yeti’s Terms of Service, Guidelines, or Support pages, well, good luck finding them: Yeti doesn’t even have a working website. It is not widely publicized. Everything we know about the software hints that it is lawless by design.
By cloning Snapchat’s visual layout and campus chatter app Yik Yak’s open browsing structure—you don’t have to discover and add specific accounts, just peruse a list of schools and check in wherever you like—Yeti is the no-holds-barred hybrid app of an 18-year-old binge drinker’s dreams. It also clearly sets the stage for inter-college competition. Which frat rages hardest? Whose spring break is bawdiest? And whose coeds are the hottest?
Yeti’s also on Twitter, which makes it even easier to save its many non-consensual creepshots of hookups or passed-out partners post-coitus. (It’s hilariously simple to save Snapchats as well, despite their designed impermanence. We’re starting to see NSFW communities, such as Snapchat Leaked, based around leaking and sharing compromising photos that people “do not want [to be] seen.”)
This is unquestionably a tipping point for photo-sharing platforms, and it looks like they’re on the cusp of becoming a serious problem for students. In most respects they’re tailor-made for bullying, revenge porn, and the creation of criminal evidence.
We can’t imagine Yeti is all that long for this world, but then again, little is. As more people discover it, and as its cache of troubling content expands, it may well find itself in Snapchat’s position, forced to adapt to the mainstream or die. For now, however, it’s just what teens and young 20-somethings want: a semi-private place in which to prove one’s partying prowess.
Photo via peddhapati/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)