Campus

Facebook Confessions Page Causes Controversy

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Students confessed everything from stealing a candy bar to having sex around campus on the anonymous Facebook page. (Image from Facebook.com)

Robin Gracia
Staff Writer

Sex, drugs and an open forum to confess it all: the CSUB Confessions page on Facebook housed, for five days, some shocking revelations and allegations. The confession page was the equivalent to a bathroom wall. It was public, anonymous and served as a listening post for student obsessions and vendettas.

The webpage was founded on March 7 and taken down sometime during the night between March 11 and 12. It allowed the individual posting on the site total anonymity. The anonymous nature of the posts enabled CSUB students to post their true experiences and thoughts about campus. CSUB was one of many college campuses to have a confessions Facebook page.

Posting was extremely simple. To make your confession, you clicked on a link provided on the page to SurveyMonkey.com and typed your admission in the box. Your secret then zoomed through cyberspace and eventually made its way to Facebook. With no accountability for the declarations, the posts moved quickly from confessions into much darker waters.

The first confession occurred on March 7, when an unknown individual claimed that they “stole a candy from the Bookstore and gave it to someone as a gift.” Another individual confessed to going to “Bed, Bath and Beyond to steal the sample lotions.” Both of the posts received “likes” from students.

Not all of the CSUB confessions were of instances of petty theft. More than a few confessions admitted to instances of public indecency. For example, several students revealed that they had had sex in vehicles parked in various lots. One person even admitted to “loving to have sex in the Head Room,” the room in Science I with taxidermy animals. This confession seemed slightly far-fetched. Considering the anonymous nature of the posts, there is a strong possibility that some professions are exaggerated or simply untrue. The posts on the CSUB Confessions page, in its short life, escalated quickly from admissions of guilt to being sexual in nature. The personal attacks quickly followed.

Sorority and fraternity members on campus appeared to receive the brunt of the derogatory comments on the Confessions page. Jose Crisantos, a senior Kappa Sigma fraternity member and English major, said he believes the page is an open forum of “people mostly talking [expletive].”

Crisantos seemed to hesitate before commenting about the CSUB Confessions page but opened up when asked if he believed the page could be construed as a type of bullying. “I don’t like the page,” he said. “I don’t listen to that stuff.”

Estie Gutierrez, a senior Kappa Sigma criminal justice major, agreed with his fraternity brother about the nature of the posts.

“It’s a sense of bullying,” Gutierrez said. “It should be shut down.”

The trouble with a page such as CSUB Confessions is that slanderous comments and libelous accusations can be made with no repercussions. More often than not, the individual posting a comment about a fellow student does not exclude the person’s name. The confessions were not limited to students attending CSUB. Faculty and other staff were being discussed as well.

When contacted the day before the page was taken down, CSUB’s Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Colleen Dillaway, said she believes that the majority of the accounts on the page are a work of fiction.

Dillaway said that in her experience, when it comes to the Internet, “people lose their filter. It’s easy to embellish stories.”

After the page was taken down, she said, “We were researching and investigating it. There must have been other reasons besides pressures from CSUB.” The page has gone up and been removed twice already. “It’s interesting. It certainly bears watching,” she said.

According to The San Francisco Chronicle, confession pages are becoming extremely popular among students. A March 8 article titled “SF State dislikes Facebook confessions” claims that San Francisco State University, Columbia University and the University of Nebraska all have their own pages on which students admit their deepest secrets and opinions. Unlike the other universities, however, San Francisco State University administrative officials are demanding that the site be removed.

“Please immediately remove any mention of and affiliation to the university immediately,” the administration posted this week on the Facebook site SFSU Confessions. “If references to our name, abbreviations and trademarks is not removed, the university will pursue further action.”

Considering the potentially hazardous allegations of professors sleeping with students and racial slurs being directed that CSUB students, the reputation of the university could be at risk if more confessions pages pop up. People’s image in the public could be damaged, personally and professionally.

Individuals that post confessions online, despite the anonymity, need to consider that what is written has an effect on their campus. In some instances, what is confessed can affect the person being discussed. What you’re told as a child should ring true as an adult: don’t say things about other people you wouldn’t want said about you.

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