Home LATEST NEWS HIGH TECH The “Confessions” pages on Instagram, a worrying phenomenon

The “Confessions” pages on Instagram, a worrying phenomenon


While the posted messages – which take the form of screenshots of Google Forms – are mostly harmless (romance, hallway rumors, people’s looks, etc.), they can be smeared and intimidated. . For example, we were able to read the word several times in not, disparaging comments about teachers, or even sexual comments about minors.

The anonymity promised by this type of page leads to slippages, according to Cathy Tétreault, general manager of the Cyber-aide Center.

Proof: there have been many abuses in the last week, while threatening remarks concerning schools published on pages of this type have led to ten arrests of teenagers. One of the pages in question, that of Calixa-Lavallée school, seems to be nowhere to be found, but Instagram has not confirmed having withdrawn it from circulation.

The news had immediate effects on the web. On Instagram Tuesday, some Confessions pages had become private. This is for example the case of confession_pm, which is aimed at students at Père-Marquette high school in Montreal.

On the confessions_sophiebarat page, linked to the Ahuntsic-Cartierville establishment, a story indicated Monday that people had had criminal records related to confessions pages and that a more rigorous filter would be applied for future publications. Several contents have also been deleted, the person (s) behind the page mentioning that they want it to become moreclean“,” text “:” clean “}}”>clean (own).

Contacted by /TurnedNews.com, a spokesperson for Meta indicated that the accounts Confessions submitted, i.e. confessions_sophiebarat, confession_gg and confession_lp, did not violate community rules.

We will continue to review the accounts and take action in accordance with our policies.

A quote from A spokesperson for Meta

Google had not commented after a request from /TurnedNews.com at the time of this writing.

A phenomenon that has many forms

What makes confession pages exist is the feeling of anonymity, of not feeling watched over by parents or teachers. Teens have a need to hide, explains Cathy Tétreault.

But this feeling of anonymity is false: If you use the web, there is always a way to get to you, she warns.

A simple online search on the pages Confessions shows that the phenomenon is not new. There are traces of such accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and other social networks that have existed since at least 2012.

It’s almost always the same formula: these pages are linked to educational establishments, whether university, college or high school, and they promise to free you from secrets in anonymity.

The phenomenon is [présent en permanence depuis 10 ans], but it manifests itself in a different way, with different applications.

A quote from Cathy Tétreault

The pages Spotted have the same operation: we send a private message, and it will be published as is under the name of the page, without mentioning its origin. They exist for many schools.

Another example, the German application Tellonym, a social network that brought together nearly 45 million people from around the world in 2019, especially teenagers, allows you to send anonymous messages to other users. Many use it to intimidate or make disparaging comments.

This new wave of pages Confessions is reminiscent of the hit television series Gossip Girl, which presented in 2007 a similar system. Someone hiding behind his pseudonym was writing blog posts and texts that were used to spread secrets about young people in New York’s high society. Production was revisited in 2021.

Educate, raise awareness, prevent

Since 2012, a law aimed at preventing and combating bullying and violence in schools (New window) requires schools to raise awareness about cybercrime in schools and notify the police when such cases arise.

From the age of 12, a person can be held criminally responsible for cybercrime, which includes cyberbullying, cyberbullying, online defamation, etc.

According to Cathy Tétreault, schools talk a lot about cyberbullying, sexting, but little about the other online crimes that are committed in schools.

The teens who have been committing these cybercrimes in the last few days, I’m not sure they knew it, it was harmful.

A quote from Cathy Tétreault

The web giants could also do more to limit the damage. According to the director of the Cyber-aide Center, they could be inspired, in particular, by the method of the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC), whose profits are reinvested in prevention and research on addiction.

Parents obviously have their role to play, and must set an example for their children, according to the director of the Cyber-aide Center.

They need to hold themselves back in the way they use apps and social media. If they criticize everything without a filter online, this is what they also teach their kids to do, she says.

The Cyber-help Center offers online tools (New window) which aim to educate parents, especially about various mobile applications and their features.

Parents can also activate parental controls for their children on various social networks.

We don’t take technology away from them, that’s not what we have to do. It’s more about teaching them how to use them well.

A quote from Cathy Tétreault

Cathy Tétreault believes that we must also ensure that witnesses who denounce problematic situations are protected. The threatening remarks which were the subject of recent arrests could have been brought to the attention of the authorities because of the denunciation of people who had seen them.

The Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) said Monday that a class tour will be carried out over the next few days to remind people that making threats on social networks can lead to serious charges. The principal of Calixa-Lavallée high school, Dominic Besner, also went to class for the same purpose, according to what he said in an interview on Monday on the show. All morning.

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