Kik Messenger running on Android Lollipop
|Initial release||October 19, 2010|
|Stable release||8.7.0 / July 28, 2015|
|Operating system||iOS 6.0 or later, Android, Windows Phone|
|Type||Instant Messaging Client, Web Browser|
Kik Messenger is a free instant messaging application for mobile devices from Kik Interactive, available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone operating systems. Kik Messenger is modeled after BlackBerry Messenger. It uses a smartphone's data plan or Wi-Fi to transmit and receive messages, photos, videos, sketches, mobile webpages, and other content after users register a username.
Founded in 2009, Kik Interactive is the work of a group of students from the University of Waterloo who wished to create new technologies to be used on mobile smartphones. Kik Messenger is the first app developed by Kik.
Kik Interactive released Kik Messenger on October 19, 2010. Within 15 days, Kik Messenger reached one million user registrations, with Twitter being credited as a catalyst for the new application's popularity.
On November 24, 2010, Research In Motion removed Kik Messenger from BlackBerry App World and limited the functionality of the software for its users. It also sued the company for copyright infringement. In October 2013, Blackberry and Kik settled the lawsuit, with the terms undisclosed.
On October 1, 2014, Kik, Sony Records and IPG Media Lab were given a Smarties award by the Mobile Marketing Association for their global music marketing campaign with One Direction.
In November 2014, Kik announced a $38.3 million Series C funding round and its first acquisition, buying GIF Messenger "Relay". The funding is from Valiant Capital Partners, Millennium Technology Value Partners, and SV Angel. Kik has raised a total of $70.5 million to date.
In January 2015, Kik reached 200 million registered users.
In March 2015, Kik announced that it would begin using Microsoft's PhotoDNA Cloud Service to automatically detect and report the distribution of child exploitation images. The proposed child exploitation tool will only remove and scan for known child pornography that exists in an international database. The new tools will not be able to screen messages from pedophiles who may be engaging in child grooming. In addition, Kik announced that the company joined the Virtual Global Taskforce, a partnership between businesses, child protection agencies, and international police services to combat online child abuse.
Kik also uses a feature that blurs messages from strangers so that users must opt in to view content sent by people outside their network. If they determine content or users are objectionable, they can delete or block those users.
In April 2015, Kik introduced a full-screen in-chat browser that allows users to find and share content from the web.
In June 2015, Kik introduced another feature in which you can now send previously recorded videos in Kik Messenger for Android and iOS.
August 16, 2015 - Kik receives $50 million investment from Chinese Internet giant Tencent, earning the company a billion dollar valuation. CEO Ted Livingston stated the investment was "purely financial" in nature.
On November 4, 2014, Kik scored 1 out of 7 points on the Electronic Frontier Foundation's secure messaging scorecard. Kik received a point for encryption during transit but lost points because communications are not encrypted with a key the provider does not have access to, users cannot verify contacts' identities, past messages are not secure if the encryption keys are stolen, the code is not open to independent review, the security design is not properly documented, and there has not been a recent independent security audit. AIM, BlackBerry Messenger, Ebuddy XMS, Hushmail, Skype, Viber, and Yahoo Messenger also scored 1 out of 7 points.
Child exploitation is prominent on Kik Messenger, and during 2014 a pedophile told The Trentonian newspaper: "I could go on it now and probably within 20 minutes have videos, pictures, everything else in between off the app because I know they're both still active. That's where all the child porn is coming off of." Similarly, in 2015 another pedophile stated: "The first thing that I thought was, 'Wow! I can be whoever I want to be. I can get anybody I want. I can achieve my sexual glorification through this app.'"
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