What is Yubo, the social networking app used by the Uvalde school shooter?

You may have never heard of Yubo. It is certainly not as big as Facebook, YouTube or Instagram. The social networking app is usually not even listed alongside fairly new social platforms that have become hugely popular with Gen Z, such as TikTok, Twitch or Discord.

But now Yubo has been pushed into the mainstream. Why? The school shooter in Uvalde was reportedly a user of the platform. And according to those who came into contact with him on Yubo, the gunman showed warning signs.

But what is Yubo?

Yubo’s website tells users where to access the mobile platform’s apps.
Credit: Yubo

Yubo, formerly known as Yellow, is a social media platform that combines live streaming with social networking. Based in Paris, France and founded in 2015, it is a mobile-only platform, meaning it requires an iOS or Android device to join the network.

Yubo’s user base is mostly teens and young adults. According to TechCrunch, the company says that 99 percent of its users are part of Gen Z and are between 13 and 25 years old. Mobile analytics company Sensor Tower estimates that the Yubo app has been downloaded more than 18 million times in the US

Yubo earned the tagline of “Tinder for Teens” for a while. Yubo’s developers developed the app to connect Snapchat users after realizing that young people were looking for new connections on the platform. Snapchat is generally intended as a social platform for users and people they already know. Users and their posts are not publicly searchable like on platforms such as Twitter or Facebook.

Seeing an opening in the market, the Yubo team created an app that allows Snapchat users to connect with strangers by swiping left or right, like on Tinder. The idea soon evolved into a proprietary platform now known as Yubo.

While the news that the Uvalde school shooter has used the app has attracted Yubo unwanted attention, it’s not the first time Yubo has been thrown into the limelight. as protocol be aware in 2021 Yubo has raised a lot of concerns among parents of its target group. CBS’s local Tampa Bay news outlet is one of the media that aired a segment warn parents about the new app that children may be using in 2020. Business Insider reports that a 26-year-old adult man was arrested in 2019 after trying to meet a 12-year-old girl he met on the app.

According to Yubo, the platform is trying to keep its minor users and adult users separate on the platform. Company announced new age-verification techniques just one day after the shooting, before the presence of the Uvalde gunman on the platform became public knowledge.

Earlier this week, Yubo told Business Insider said it is consistently working on features and protocols to ensure the safety of its users, such as AI-powered moderation of live streams and chats. The platform also does not display ads or show users algorithmically promoted content, two features usually found in social apps and which can negatively impact teens.

However, The New York TimesWashington Postand SHAME they all spoke to Yubo users who had interacted with the Uvalde shooter, Salvador Ramos, on the app. One young girl said that Ramos asked her to be his girlfriend on Yubo, which she described as “Tinder for kids.” According to the girl, Ramos became aggressive after she rejected him.

The New York Times spoke to a 15-year-old girl in Germany who Ramos met on Yubo. The teenage girl said Ramos sent her photos of his weapons and told her about his plans on the day of the shooting. However, she did not believe him.

According to a 16-year-old boy who used the Washington Post, Ramos regularly made hostile comments on the Yubo platform. He said the gunman regularly posted photos of dead cats and threatened girls on the app with assault and rape on Yubo’s text messages and live group chat features. He said Ramos’ account was often reported to Yubo for his comments, but the platform never did anything, allowing Ramos to continue sending threats to other Yubo users.

In addition to Yubo not responding to Ramos’ actions on the platform, the shooter’s Yubo account Remained life on the platform until Saturday, nearly 4 days after the shooting that killed 21 people, including 19 students.

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