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(Pocket-lint) - Kids these days.

If they aren't Venmo-ing cash to their friends, they are snapping with Snapchat. Or, they're sending anonymised messages to each other with Sarahah, an app that shot to the top of app charts this past summer. Nearly 20 million people have downloaded it from Apple and Google’s app stores, helping it to become the No. 1 most downloaded free app for iOS in July (though it's since slipped from that spot).

It did come under fire recently for uploading users’ contacts, including phone numbers and email addresses to the company’s servers, but the team behind Sarahah has said it plans to remove that functionality in the next update. If none of that bothers you, and you'd like to know more about this app, how it works, where it's available, and what's the point, we have you covered. Here's what you need to know.


What is Sarahah?

Sarahah, which translates to “frankness” or “honesty” in Arabic, essentially allows you to anonymously message others. You can compliment them or critique them, and they will have no idea it's you unless you tell them. You can even link it to your Snapchat account. It's been popular in the Middle East and North Africa for some time, but it just recently caught on in America and Europe and America.

Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq, Sarahah's developer, who is from Saudi Arabia, told Mashable that he came up with the app so that workers could leave anonymous feedback for their bosses, and then at some point he realised anyone could use it for a number of reasons. It only entered the US Apple App store in early June, but it quickly spread to Canada and is now blowing up in India and elsewhere.

What's the point of Sarahah?

The idea is that you sign up, then send a link to your profile to whomever you want for feedback, even if that means posting it publicly online, and then anyone with that link can anonymously provide feedback. The app logs comments you have received, sent, and favourited. Currently, there's no way to follow a person or reply to an anonymous message, but Sarahah said it is "studying this option."

How does Sarahah work?

So, you create your Sarahah profile, which anyone can visit. Even without logging in or having an account, people can visit your profile and leave messages, anonymously. All your incoming messages will show up in an inbox, and you can flag, delete, report, or favourite them. But you can't reply to them. Continue reading for a more thorough breaked down of how the app works.

Create an account

Download the Sarahah app either from the Apple App Store or Google Play. You’ll then need to create an account, which you can do from either the app or the site. Once logged in, you can adjust notification preferences, language, and privacy options. Make sure to deselect both “Appear in search” and “Allow Unauthorized Users to Post” if you do not want to receive messages from strangers.

Share your account

Once done with settings, go to your blank profile page and take note of the web address in the middle of the screen (username.Sarahah.com). This is the link you must share with people so that they can "find" you on Sarahah and send you messages. Just press on it to share the link via social media, email, SMS, messaging apps, or wherever. You should start to receive messages after you’ve shared it.

View your messages

To view your messages, press on the speech bubble icon on the bottom portion of the app. Make sure you’re on the “received” tab. Once you’ve received a message, you can press on the heart icon to add it to your favorites, select the arrow icon to share it, or select caution symbol to block the sender. You can also report a message by pressing the red flag icon. To delete a message, press the “x” in the corner.

Send a message

Go to the “Search” function - that magnifying glass at the bottom - and type in someone’s name. You’ll need their actual name, because the search function doesn’t work with usernames. You can message from any device, whether from the app or the website, and you don’t even need an account. You just need to know the person's Sarahah URL, and then you can send a message from your laptop. Easy.

But you’ll need to make an account if you want to receive messages.

Link to Snapchat

You can post your Sarahah URLs to Snapchat so followers can quickly send you anonymous messages. To do this, make a new snap. You should then see a paperclip on the right-hand side of your image. Click it and type the link to your Sarahah profile (username.Sarahaha.com) and send it as a direct message or add it to your Snapchat story. Once it posts, people can swipe up to access the link and message you.

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Where is Sarahah available?

Sarahaha is available in many countries across the globe, including US, Canada, UK, Europe, the Middle East, and India.

Writing by Elyse Betters.
Sections Apps