The Sarahah app appeared on the social networking scene suddenly earlier this year and then quickly rose to viral status on both the Google Play and Apple App Store. Users are drawn by the idea of being able to give constructive criticism or even or even just outright bully someone without revealing their identity.

sarahah app
geralt / Pixabay

Problems with Sarahah

But even setting the bullying aspect aside, it’s hardly been a honeymoon with the Sarahah app, despite how many people jumped onboard with it so fast. For those who aren’t familiar with Sarahah, it’s a social network that was originally designed for people who wanted to receive constructive criticisms at work without fear of consequences.

However, the app has now spread far beyond the corporate sphere and is attracting many Western teens, and it’s possible that its creator never envisioned that so many people would be using Sarahah.  This could be why users report lots of problems with the app, from basic technical problems to not being able to understand the settings. Here are some of the most commonly reported issues we’ve been hearing about.

Technical difficulties with the Sarahah app

One of the most pervasive problems with the Sarahah app appears to be the technical glitches that seem to have been going on for quite some time. You don’t have to spend much time reading user review on the Play store and App Store to see the issues people are having with both the Android and iOS version of the app.

The most common technical problem with Sarahah appears to be the app logging them out over and over right after they try to log in. Its viral appeal seems to make people willing to try over and over as if they’re just banging their head against a wall repeatedly. Some users wrote in their reviews of the app on both app stores that it doesn’t work “half the time.”

Many of the one-star reviews the app has received are paired with complaints that it doesn’t work, although even some of those who have given it three or more stars say that it often doesn’t let them log in and throws up error messages repeatedly. Others say that the app takes a long time to load or logs them out as soon as they’re able to log in. At least one person using the Android version of the app said they keep getting “spammed with those stupid click bait messages” even though they keep blocking them. Another Google user said it wouldn’t let her register.

Several of the users of the iOS version commented that it has been this way for at least the last three weeks, so this isn’t a new problem. It’s just the one Sarahah’s developers have failed to fix.

Problems figuring out how it works

A few people have left reviews that they’re having trouble figuring out how the Sarahah app works, and it’s pretty easy to see why. It’s possible some of these issues may have to do with things that are lost in translation, but given how popular the app is, one would think its developers would be able to get better translations.

One of the most obvious problems has to do with the “Reply” button. The app doesn’t allow anyone to reply to any message they receive, but those who don’t know this may be very confused. The “Reply” button doesn’t let you reply to anyone; instead, it lets you post the comment you’re attempting to “reply” to on one of your other social networks, such as Snapchat. It’s essentially forwarding the comment to one of your other social profiles.

Another questionable function is related to one of the profile settings. The setting reads “Allow anonymous people to post,” and then there is a checkbox to opt out of it. One thing we do know is that the Sarahah app does allow you to opt out of receiving messages from people who aren’t registered in the app. Thus, it seems that if you have that box checked, it allows people who don’t have a profile on Sarahah to send you comments if they can find your profile, but this isn’t exactly clear.

There’s no give and take… only taking

No, this subheading isn’t commentary on the fact that you can’t reply to messages. It’s actually a reference to something we reported on earlier this week. Bishop Fox security analyst Zachary Julian revealed that Sarahah is or was storing users’ address books on its servers. Creator Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq tweeted a response that they were planning a “find your friends” feature, but it has been delayed because of technical problems.

Of course this begs the question of why the developer caused the Sarahah app to pull users’ contacts from their devices without the feature being ready. The app pulls those contacts the first time users log in and then again if they haven’t used the app in a while.

Technical problems + data siphoning = ?

The technical problems that are keeping users from even logging in and using the app become even more concerning in this light. On the surface, it makes it seem like the app’s creator is collecting users’ entire address books and then giving nothing in return because they can’t log in and use it, hence the subheading above. Many tech gurus describe data as the new currency because it can be taken and then sold over and over again.

So we’ll just have to wait and see how long it takes for people to get tired of trying to use the Sarahah app before they give up. Unfortunately, for those who’ve already signed up and let the app download their address books, there’s really nothing else to do but wait and hope that the developer get the app back up and running, since they’ve already paid for it with the contact information of everyone the know.

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