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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Facebook pages promote unhealthy discourse

    There is no place like Facebook for the average troll, and with a trend of UA-specific pages creating a sanctuary for outrageous and harmful posts, anonymous users are creating online toxicity on these pages that some call “entertainment.”

    The infamous U of A DABS page was shut down earlier this month, but other UA-specific pages live on in the realm of Facebook, revealing yet more problems with the power of anonymity.

    One example is the U of A Makeouts page, which has more than 4,000 likes. This page posts various pictures of students locking lips, primarily at parties.

    Some pictures on the page take it to the next level with pictures of female students either straddling their makeout partner or being pinned against a refrigerator, while someone captures their wandering hands.

    Many of the photos show faces, and while it’s not as bad as the U of A DABS page, it’s still embarrassing.

    An obvious question that arises from this is, why are people so concerned with others that they want to creep up, take their photo and post it online? It’s plain and simple: Our idea of entertainment and humor is distorted, especially when we can post anonymously.

    Similarly, U of A Hookups, another UA-related Facebook page on the rise, has 250 likes, and a cover photo of women in bikinis.

    The description reads, “This page is specifically designed to help fellow Wildcats hookup.”

    Some posts on this page include descriptive, crude, demeaning and frankly disgusting sexual desires from those seeking a partner, and others say they’re willing to pay in sexual favors if someone writes their English paper.

    The majority of these posts read almost like dating ads, with the poster’s height, hair color, build, etc. But there are those posts that go too far.

    “I want to have a three way with two girls I’m a 19 [year old] male and I’m phenomenal with my tongue and I know how to share my time!” said one anonymous poster.

    All of the posts are anonymous, but the fact that this is even out there shows a problem with the culture of today’s generation.

    “I really want to experiment with a girl but don’t know where to start because I don’t want my friends to find out,” said another poster. “… i [sic] just want an experimental friends with benefits.”

    Our generation seems thirsty for anonymous gossip. Many young adults lunge at the opportunity to hide behind the computer screen, post anonymously and thrive on other people’s reactions.

    “I think college students have been engaging in gossip for a long, long time, and probably in the same amounts of gossip; it’s just the medium has become different,” said Matthias Mehl, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology. “The medium is now online and we have not really evolved to deal with that.”

    These are just two of the infamous UA-specific Facebook pages with posts that could have harmful consequences. Online, pictures and posts can reach hundreds or thousands of people while floating around in cyberspace — once it’s on the Internet, it’s there forever.

    “The social consequences of virtual gossip are potentially much more devastating,” Mehl said.

    It’s time this generation realizes the true damage that can come from such online behavior and stop feeding on it as entertainment. Gossip is better spread in an old-fashioned manner — or not at all.

    Ashley T. Powell is a journalism senior. Follow her @ashleytaylar.

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