Juicy Campus site roils with anonymous smears

An online student gossip hub has recently received a lot of attention lately for its malicious content.

JuicyCampus.com, which claims to, "enable online anonymous free speech on college campuses," was founded on Aug. 1, 2007. The site - whose apt motto is "Always Anonymous… Always Juicy…" allowed students to post completely uncensored material anonymously without the possibility of repercussion.

The Web site is organized into specific channels for over 75 college campuses. Users have full jurisdiction, as a recent post on the site's blog states, on "how they want to use the site, and what they think is appropriate."

With the promise of anonymity, however, "appropriate" manifests in topics such as "Who is the biggest slut????" and "Iverson is a loser and a rapist."

The Web site is legal under U.S. law, because sites are not responsible for material that users post.

But JuicyCampus.com goes to great lengths to protect the identities of the posters, who aren't required to register. On the Web site, in bold, clear English, the privacy policy assures potential users that, "it is not possible for anyone to use this Web site to find out who you are or where you are located."

The site accomplishes this by not associating any IP addresses, which can be used to track back to an individual computer, with specific posts or votes. Thus, an IP address can show only that a computer, or somebody using it, was at the general site.

The Web site is currently under scrutiny by students who are calling for a ban on it by their colleges. The only SUNY school registered on the site is Buffalo, but due to its constant expansion, Geneseo might be next.

According to an Associated Press article featured on STLtoday.com, some universities have already passed a vote against its use.

Geneseo's Computing and Information Technology Web site, policy 1K, states that, "Harassment: Using computers or networks to harass, abuse or intimidate another person is prohibited. Users shall not develop or use programs that harass other users. Users shall be sensitive to the public nature of the college, and take care not to display on screens in such locations images, sounds or messages that could create an atmosphere of discomfort or harassment for others."

If the Web site was a problem at Geneseo, administration could block it, but a ban on JuicyCampus might not be enough to prevent students from using it. If students decide to post using other networks, the school can't do much of anything at all.

Geneseo students don't seem particularly fond of the Web site either.

"Between facebook.com and ratemyprofessor.com, students don't need any other social networking sites," said freshman Lauren Carlevaro. "It's just unnecessary."

Freshman Natalie Chang had similar sentiments.

"Inevitably there will be people with spiteful intentions who will try to spark a rumor on the site but at that point, why would someone bother to read it in the first place?" she asked.