Once controversial social media app Yik Yak relaunched for iOS devices in the US four years after shutting, with the brand’s new owners poised to expand availability to a greater number devices and locations.

The company heralded its return on Twitter, having revived its profile on the social media platform for two months at the start of 2019 before disappearing again. The account was dormant between January 2017 and January 2019.

In its relaunch post, it noted it was back after a “four year hiatus” bringing back “everything you used to love about Yik Yak”.

On the app’s associated company website, the new owners explained they bought the rights from the “original makers” in February 2021. The app’s initial developers had sold some remaining assets to Square as the app closed down in 2017.

It is not clear who is behind the revival, if the new company bought the rights from Square or the developers, or how much it paid. The business refers to itself as Yik Yak Inc in a lengthy terms of service document.

Yik Yak’s selling points in both its new and former incarnation is hosting an anonymous message board which can be seen by users within a five-mile radius. During its heyday the app was popular in locations such as college campuses.

The original service launched in 2013 was criticised after claims the anonymous nature of the message boards could be used for harassment and cyberbullying.

Alongside the app, the new owners have outlined a range of community guidelines on its website: “We’re committed to making Yik Yak a fun place free of bullying, threats, and all sort of negativity.”

Its relaunch comes at a time when social media companies are under fire from prominent figures including politicians and sports stars for apparently not doing enough to tackle antisocial behaviour and harassment on their platforms.

Some have called for user verification as part of this.