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Wednesday, February 28, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

College ACB Leads to Cyber-Bullying

Society and mass media seem to associate teenagers and drama more often than not; just think of movies like Mean Girls, books such as The Clique, or television shows like "Gossip Girl."

Although each of these examples tells fictional stories, similar situations do exist. A website called College Anonymous Confession Board, also known as CollegeACB.com, could be considered the electronic version of the "Burn Book" featured in Mean Girls.

College ACB is the successor to JuicyCampus.com. JuicyCampus, founded on Aug. 1, 2007, allowed students to anonymously post on pages created for over 500 college campuses. The website perpetuated rumors, rants, and gossip and eventually became blocked on all campus computers.

In February of 2009, Matt Ivester, the founder and CEO of JuicyCampus, reported that the website would be shut down due to an "unsteady stream of revenue," according to Ryan J. Reilly in his article, "JuicyCampus Comes to an End."

Just as students who were verbally attacked on JuicyCampus began to feel as if they could escape the callous comments, College ACB snuck up on them.

When the founders of College ACB, Aaron Larner and Andrew Mann, handed over the website to Peter Frank, the use of the anonymous website began to soar. Contrary to the use of JuicyCampus, Frank believes that College ACB has a "higher level of discourse" and that his website contains "actual discussion."

However, some recent posts for "SUNY Buffalo" include "sex- who always puts out?? girll? [sic]" and numerous female names followed by "what do you think of her??" Such discourse does not stop the half-a-million website views per day.

"At first I didn't think someone was trying to harm or hurt me, because originally just my name was written down, but several posts later, I began to think someone intentionally attempted to harm my reputation and I couldn't understand why," said an anonymous student in response to a post about him or her. "It bothers me most when people I don't even know confront my friends about the validity of the posts. It just hurts that people would post such fake information about me, but it is what it is, I guess."

Last Monday, Frank issued a statement on CollegeACB.blogspot.com saying that he is "selling his stake in College ACB" and that the website will be under new management within a few days. He believes the website has "helped people share feelings and discuss sensitive topics in a sincere fashion that might not otherwise have been possible."

Frank acknowledges that the site has endured controversy, but that it has deleted over 30,000 inappropriate posts while "preserving the site's essential identity as an open anonymous forum." He is excited to see the direction the website takes under new management, who will likely decide the fate of the "largest anonymous college board in the world."

E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


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