Social App Experiment Favors Hoop

Mia Jay , Staff Writer

Hoop and Yubo are Tinder-like apps centered around finding new friends on Snapchat. They are opening up the dating-app world to teens sooner (and more legally) than ever before.

With an age rating of 12+, Hoop focuses on finding new friends. It is rated #2 on the App Store and has 4.5/5 stars. There is also a gem collection feature for adding new people, and there are options such as completing surveys and using the app daily to get more gems.  The platform purports to be safe for teens with an emphasis on prohibiting cat-fishing, the practice of posing as someone you are not while online.

Yubo has an age rating of 17+. Like the original “booty-call” app Tinder, it has a swiping aspect (you swipe right to match with another user). The app also includes a Live Stream feature to find groups of people with specific interests. There are very few safety precautions on this app and it does not verify the age of users. It has 4.3/5 stars on the App Store and is rated #6 in social networking.

Junior Katie Price downloaded Hoop after viewing an advertisement for it on another popular app, Tik Tok. She thinks that “a lot of people talk about it, then people download it because they hear other people talking about it.”

Senior Ray Roberts downloaded Yubo about 2 months ago. “My experience had been pretty good overall. More people add me than I add them,” said Roberts. “I think I have over 2,500 ads and 100 requests. I’ve actually made a lot of friends over Yubo especially when I needed it.”

Junior Stella Qi prefers Yubo to Hoop because it does not have the distracting aspect of the gems. According to Qi, Yubo is just as safe as Hoop, despite its lack of regulations. “Most of the time, when you view people’s profiles, they’re like, looking for someone to play iMessages with,” said Qi. “It’s not actually as sketchy as most parents think, like when they’re warning about the dangers of Yubo. And you can always block people or un-add them if they are weird or creepy.”

After hearing about these apps from other students, I decided to test and review them myself.

1st, I added some random people for an unbiased selection of the apps’ users and waited for their replies. I was surprised at how quickly many of these people added me back, and how many were interested in having a genuine conversation. There were definitely some users with dirty intentions, but none of them pushed back upon being declined, and all but 3 were very respectful.

When choosing my options for who I wanted to connect with, I chose all genders and all nationalities. However, almost all of the people I was presented with were male, and all but 3 were straight. There were people from all around the world, but I noticed most were from the US East Coast.

To maintain a bit of privacy, I chose not to spend too much time interacting with any 1 individual, not to share any personal information, and used Snapchat filters on all the pictures I sent to people I added (to maintain a bit of anonymity). While these things may seem trivial, they helped create boundaries.

My experiment with these apps lasted 1 week, and overall, I preferred Hoop. It felt safer than Yubo or any of the other social networking apps, it was pretty fun, and I would recommend this app if you are interested in finding new Snapchat friends.

While apps like Hoop and Yubo are stereotyped with thirst-trapping girls and concupiscent guys, they are actually a good option for people who are bored or want some new Snapchat friends and are safer for teens than illegally trying to download apps like Tinder.