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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Students posted on ‘The Dirty’ reflect on site

Annie+Marum+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AThe+Dirty+Website+photo+illustration+
Annie Marum
Annie Marum / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Dirty Website photo illustration

With sites like Facebook and Twitter being vetted by employers, students are frequently warned not to post anything they don’t want seen online. But gossip sites like thedirty.com, which allows users to post about others anonymously, make it harder to control an Internet presence.

Jane, an anthropology sophomore who asked to remain anonymous, did not know she was on “the Dirty” until friends wrote her and let her know. Curious, she looked up the site for the first time and found a picture of herself with her sorority members.

“There aren’t very many terms of endearment within the website,” she said. “It’s pretty much just bashing and calling girls ‘bitches,’ ‘whores,’ ‘sluts.’ I mean, that’s the general scope when people are talking about my sorority and every sorority in general.”

Part of the post read, “They (the sorority members) think that just because they got a decent pledge class they’re ‘on their way to the top.’ Well their pledge class may not be obese like the rest of them, but they are whores!!!”

The Dirty’s founder, who goes by Nik Richie, wrote underneath, “It does suck, are there decent sororities left?”

Users can post inappropriate photos and videos of people they know or dislike. The site provides links that allow users to “submit dirt,” “advertise,” or simply search their colleges or cities for new gossip. With more than 100 pages of “dirt” under the Arizona/UA tab alone, it can sometimes be impossible to know whether a person is on the site until someone else points it out.

John, a business management junior whose name has also been changed upon request, first found out he was on the site when his fraternity brother messaged him about a post. He went on the website and found pictures taken from his MySpace account.

“Over self-confident, thinks he is the shit, and thinks every girl wants him and wants his dick,” the post read. “He thinks he is hot shit because he believed he was the king of Tucson High.”

John said because most of the things written were untrue, they did not have a big effect on him. However, it bothered him that comments on the post turned into a bashing ground for his fraternity.

“The Dirty is fun to look at and see what people post about stuff,” he said. “If there are any particular popular kids, it’s funny to see what people say about them. But at the same time, people get vicious and they don’t keep it cool.”

The Dirty allows users to submit a “courtesy removal request” via email, but the decision is up to the Dirty World LLC and can take 72 hours or more to process, according to the website. Users must provide the link of the original post in their request.

Susan Ferrell, an Associated Students of the University Arizona legal services adviser, explained the importance of hiring a private attorney that can threaten to sue if the courtesy removal request does not work. If the letter does not have an effect, she said, the next option individuals posted on the site have is to sue. However, claiming defamation and proving it are two different things, Ferrell added.

“It’s really daunting to sue someone for defamation,” Ferrell said. “You have to come up with money up front to pay your lawyer and you have to have actual damages to hope to get any money out of it.”

On top of wanting to avoid the costs, some of those on the site do not feel it is worth it to pursue legal action.

“I didn’t really take any legal action, or think about it because, first, the pictures they put up were public property,” John said. “Second, I didn’t really care. It didn’t really affect me to that extent, it was just kind of funny.”

Although some believe the site is fun to browse, others said they believe that looking at the site only encourages hate and negativity.

“I think it’s just as childish for people to give in to the website,” Jane said. “To go on it, and feed into its cruelty, that’s just as immature as the people who post to it. I think it’s a website for people to satisfy their boredom and it’s sad.”

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