Remember Kik? Look back to the time in your life when every step you took could only be described as cringeworthy. You’ll find it next to a container of Pink body mist or a pair of DC shoes. It was a simpler time before children knew how to dress like people, before YouTubers, Snapchat, “Fortnite,” Kylie … and the Trump presidency. It was also a time Generation Z can occasionally look back on with fondness.
If you once used your iPod, Samsung or Nexus to communicate with iPhone-holding friends, you were born at just the right time for Kik, during the transition from the semi-smart phone to smart phone. There’s also a chance you were on the asking or receiving end of the all-encompassing predecessor to the Snapchat follow request and one-word pick-up line: “Kik?”
Kik Messenger, the instant messaging mobile app from 2010 died in spirit the second that Snapchat took off but continued to stubbornly cling for dear life until being officially shut down in October 2019. Along with the days when all you needed was a simple username to do things on the internet unattached to any phone number, Google profile or Facebook account, Kik is now a thing of the past. Regardless, two things are undeniable: Things got crazy on Kik and nobody cares anymore.
For a while, Kik was probably considered “lit.” It was a notorious platform for sliding in the DMs, and uncomfortably, for sending and receiving nudes. However, this was only the tip of the problematic iceberg. The virtual anonymity built into the app allowed it to become a haven for child sexual predators, rampant with and even synonymous with web-enabled child sexual abuse.
Imagine WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Line but without being connected to any profile, phone number or device. Kik was simultaneously difficult to police for predators and trendy with the kids, serving as a window for Instagram crushes, middle school group chats, drug dealers and child predators. It was an all-in-one, free, completely unmonitored platform.
Perhaps the saddest part of the Kik story is that after nearly a decade of being known as a haven for child predators, the app wasn’t shut down until the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) finally ended it over issues of cryptocurrency earlier this year. The SEC filed a lawsuit over the app’s 2017 digital currency, “Kin,” and the specifics of their fundraising of $100 million in tokens. The whole situation is impossible to understand. The word is that “Kik” is over, but “Kin” will remain.
While app developers, sketchy online presences and shady cryptocurrencies will probably always exist, at least they — and we — lost Kik. While one could try to make some opposing argument about internet privacy, Kik did more bad than good.
At the end of the day, Kik doesn’t really provide much more than a cautionary tale and a negative-leaning throwback. Some things are meant to be left behind until their memory fades into nothingness. Let’s let Kik fade away.