Campus, Multimedia

BU Confessions receive critical comments

BU Confessions is a community on Facebook which allows students to anonymously post. PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
BU Confessions is a community on Facebook which allows students to anonymously post. PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

While several Boston University-based Facebook pages centering on anonymous stories and revelations have captivated student attention, they have also drawn significant criticism for posts some say are offensive.

“It’s not the anonymity that makes people offended,” said sociology professor Ashley Mears. “The anonymity allows an uninhibited space of critique where people are not made accountable for their opinions.”

BU Confessions, a Facebook page created Feb. 10, allows students to anonymously submit secrets, embarrassing stories and opinions related to both students’ personal lives and to BU in general. The page’s administrator then reviews the submissions and makes them public.

The page had almost 3,000 likes as of Monday evening, and recent posts have drawn critical comments from students, often claiming posts are offensive or prejudiced.

Mears said freedom from responsibility brings the risk of offending groups or individuals out in a public way.

“It can be a good thing as the anonymity allows for greater freedom of expression,” she said. “But it can also be catastrophically bad if that critique heightens feelings of exclusion and other vulnerabilities.”

Mears said accountability, while sometimes avoided, can be crucial when pointing out injustices.

“I didn’t think this page would grow so fast, but I certainly knew Confessions would get people talking,” said the creator of BU Confessions, who wished to remain anonymous, in an email. “When I originally created this page, my intentions were simply to have fun with it. I wanted confessions to become a part of everyone’s day.”

The creator said the page was supposed to be an outlet for free expression among students.

“We all have experiences, stories and thoughts to share — some embarrassing moments, intimate thoughts, a few bizarre experiences and even some heavy ones,” the creator said.

Some students said there are benefits and drawbacks to having a confessions page in a public setting.

Jessica Leach, a College of Communication junior, said she was offended by a Friday post in which the anonymous author referred to another student by a sexual slur after the student stepped on the author’s expensive Givenchy shoes.

“Any post that is needlessly attacking a race, gender, or sexual orientation, like the Givenchy shoes one I commented on, is unnecessary,” she said in an email. “I understand that it’s someone’s opinions, or maybe someone’s weird idea of a joke, but I don’t have to respect it, and neither does anyone else.”

Justin Lievano, a College of Arts and Sciences freshman, said he suspects that a Feb. 21 post refers to either him or another student on his floor.

The post, “To the Core guy who lives on 18A, please talk to me,” is one of about 1,500 anonymous posts on the page.

“I wasn’t bothered by it because, in my opinion, BU Confessions is silly,” Lievano said. “I took the whole affair as a joke to begin with.”

COM freshman Rodrigo Mendoza said, while the page is humorous, posters often take jokes too far.

“It’s really funny but sometimes it gets out of hand,” he said.

Since some posts are targeted at certain students, it is unclear whether they are true or meant to entertain or possibly hurt others, said CAS sophomore Lacin Koro.

“Some of the things are pretty bizarre,” Koro said. “I heard that some of the hints about fraternities are written by members of other fraternities.”

The creator of the page said he or she had positive goals in mind when first starting the page. The page was intended to foster communication between students while creating a sense of unity.

“Not only are confessions entertaining and fun to read, but they also allow a way for students to relate to one another’s experiences and even share some advice along the way,” said the page’s creator. “I wanted to use this page to create a real community at this school.”

Margaret Waterman contributed to the reporting of this article.

 

2 Comments

  1. I had Mears last year for Sociology, and I’m so glad that you guys got her to comment on this, she has some really cool thoughts on technology and socialization. Future article perhaps?

  2. Simmons college student

    There was a Simmons College Confessions page but it was shut down within 2 days because of “offensive” posts. I don’t understand why Simmons administration had to shut it down, every college/university has their own confession page why can’t we?? Is it because girls get offended way too easily than co-ed colleges? This isn’t fair to all the students who were having fun and enjoying the page.