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Yik Yak Hires Former Googler Michael Morrissey as Engineering VP

The anonymous messaging app is looking to build out its engineering team.

Yik Yak has hired Michael Morrissey, a former senior engineering director at Google, as its first VP of engineering, Morrissey tells Re/code.

He spent the past eight years at Google before joining Yik Yak, an Atlanta-based anonymous messaging app that has been particularly popular on college campuses. Most recently, Morrissey was working on mobile advertising at Google.

 Michael Morrissey is Yik Yak’s new VP of engineering.
Michael Morrissey is Yik Yak’s new VP of engineering.
Yik Yak

That doesn’t mean he’s looking to build an advertising product at Yik Yak, he said. The company doesn’t currently bring in any revenue, and it doesn’t plan to start with Morrissey.

“My focus is definitely not on advertising at Yik Yak,” he said. “I don’t even think my advertising background came up [in the interviews].”

Instead, Morrissey says he is focused on growing Yik Yak’s engineering team, which he described as “small,” by two or three times over the next year.

Spam is another area Morrissey will look to tackle. Yik Yak found itself in an interesting predicament last week when a TechCrunch story reported that the company was systematically down-voting (and thus eliminating) user comments that mentioned direct competitors. (Yik Yak denied this, saying its spam technology was unintentionally responsible.)

Morrissey says the company’s spam algorithms will be a focus for him and his team. He will also be responsible for the tech side of all Yik Yak’s reporting and safety features. Yik Yak has had issues with user bullying in the past, and actually took steps last year to block the app from working at some U.S. high schools.

Beyond that? Well, it’s a little too soon to tell, Morrissey added. Yik Yak has grown considerably since launching in 2013. It has also raised more than $70 million in venture funding, so scaling the app will be important as growth continues.

Morrissey started at the company last week, and will report directly to CEO Tyler Droll.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.