TIME World

‘Yo’ App Retooled to Alert Israelis of Missile Attacks

A gag app that allows you to say "Yo" to your friends has been repurposed to potentially save lives

The “Yo” app was developed as a joke. Download the app, tap on a friend’s name, and they’d get a message from you saying “Yo.” It’s that simple. In fact, the app was created in eight hours and released on April Fools’ day just so people would know it was a gag.

But Yo has a new application that’s no laughing matter. Developers in the Middle East are using the app to warn Israelis of possible attacks from rocket fire; users following the handle “RedAlertIsrael” will get a “Yo” at the same time the country’s sirens go off.

One person’s gag app is apparently another’s survival tool.

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