Monday morning, Nov. 11 several students logged on to Twitter to realize one of the campus’s most infamous accounts had been closed. Without rhyme or reason, it seemed that @WittConfessions went offline with no intent of returning.
The @WittConfessions phenomenon is now over, ending a frequent ritual of checking for updates in class for several students. Maggie Peale said, “I am so upset that @WittConfessions was taken down, what am I supposed to read in class now?”
Another student, Adam Barstow, tweeted, “whoever deleted witt confessions you are rude that was the reason I got a twitter.” Several other students shared the same sentiments. Many considered @WittConfessions to be a source of entertainment, and the intention of the site to be good humored.
However, there were just as many students who found @WittConfessions’ posts to be obnoxious, embarrassing, and, on some levels, cyber bullying.
When asked, most students responded saying that they simply ignored the account due to the content of its posts, and that they would have never spoken out against it. However, the action of one student speaking out is what caused the termination of the site, according to the anonymous Wittenberg student behind the Twitter handle.
The mastermind behind @WittConfessions was a female. In an interview, the owner of the account spoke about running the account, misconceptions about @WittConfessions, and the conflict that led to the account’s demise.
The account ceases to exist due to one post sent through ask.fm, the anonymous website used to communicate student’s tweets. The message stated: “If you don’t delete this site, I will personally take all @WittConfessions to Dr. Joyner myself and sue your ass for defamation. I did not ask to be exposed in a sexual manner on this webpage. I hope you know that the faculty has already started to track your activity. You have 24 hours. Thanks.”
After recieving this message, @WittConfessions was immediately taken down.
The shutdown started dialogue on campus regarding freedom of speech and whether or not the rights of the woman behind the page were trampled on. Opinions varied from student to student, equally representing those who feel her rights were violated and those who believed the site needed to be stopped.
The former manager of @WittConfessions responded fiercely to this question saying, “I feel this shutdown has obliterated my freedom of speech. I have every right to run this account. I am being attacked by an invisible person and I feel that this person is taking away my first constitutional right, my freedom of speech.”
Some students sided with her. Student Tom Spore stated, “Yes this violates her freedom of speech, this is America.”
Other students felt that since the account was using the university’s name, and referred to the school so often, its termination was essential in order to prevent a decline in Wittenberg’s reputation.
Students also made the argument that the account was publishing ideas that may embarrass the person mentioned, and was often degrading. The woman behind the page expressed that this was not the intended purpose of the site and that she herself was even mentioned in several tweets that were embarrassing. However, she continuously published these tweets in order to remain fair.
She stated that she started the account to pick up where last year’s @WittConfessions left off, as well as to run the site more consistently. She wanted to provide a platform for students to express themselves when they otherwise would be unable to.
In the final comments of her interview, the unidentified student discussed how she will greatly miss running the account and how heartbroken she is that it is over. She also stated that she would not be starting another account, and hopes that no other student would start one as well.
However, as of Nov. 15, there is already a new account. @wittconfesses is now seeking the spotlight of students’ newsfeed.