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Yik Yak for Congressional Staffers Is Horny, Fratty and Nerdy. Here Are Some Screenshots.

An inside look at Cloakroom.

Cloakroom

From the outside, Congressional staffers are a pretty tightly muzzled bunch. They can’t tweet or post on Facebook what they actually think about what happens inside the Beltway.

But on Cloakroom, a Yik Yak-like anonymous messaging app for those with a senate.gov or house.gov email address, the Capitol Hill rank and file get to share what they want to, without consequence. And based on screenshots provided to and later confirmed by Re/code, the discussion on Cloakroom isn’t drastically different from what you might see on Yik Yak.

On Cloakroom, there are bad memes, bigoted slurs and casual conversation about relevant political topics, like the Apple-FBI encryption court battle or the presidential nomination fights. Users post under pseudonyms, and iPhone users have the ability to send one another direct messages that are deleted once they are read. If you’re not a staffer and you’re physically located at Capitol Hill, you can get guest access to the service for a day. Cloakroom is not nearly as vicious as, say, a fraternity email thread. But there is some pretty nasty stuff on the service, which makes sense given the recent history of very similar apps.

Ted Henderson, the creator of Cloakroom, was forthright about all this in a phone conversation with Re/code. He acknowledges that Cloakroom can get pretty raunchy, but says that the service doesn’t “really have that many issues,” as the service’s users “are all somewhat professional, they’re staffers on the Hill.”

Henderson says that Cloakroom’s content reporting system is mostly manually controlled by the three-person team that operates the app.

“We get an email as soon as something is reported. If there are multiple reports in a short time, it gets auto-filtered, but not deleted,” Henderson said. “Filtered [means] it’s no longer visible in the feed until we’ve had a chance to weigh in. Like, if it’s a dick pic, it’s gonna get taken down.”

Eventually, Henderson wants people to use Cloakroom for more than just sharing gossip or idle conversation. He’s a former Hill staffer himself, having worked for Democratic ex-Congressman Dale Kildee, and he previously built an app that provided users info on Congressional votes. He has invited policy experts from think tanks like the Brookings Institution and the Heritage Foundation to conduct Reddit AMA-like question-and-answer sessions on Cloakroom. Eventually, he suggested, staffers could use it as a place to leak stuff to journalists.

And besides, he says, Cloakroom’s users work on Capitol Hill and what they have to say is inherently significant.

“Maybe [this content] shouldn’t disappear,” he argued. “With people who work in Congress, it’s important that you have that out there.”

Henderson gave Re/code access to the service, after we initially reached out. Below are screenshots that include some of the lewd and banal extremes of what is posted on there.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.