'Confession' Twitter account shut down amid school board investigation
Karolyn Coorsh, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, April 2, 2014 7:29PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 2, 2014 10:57PM EDT
A Twitter account that posts racy confessions reportedly sent from students across the Toronto area was deactivated by its anonymous administrator Wednesday, days after an investigation was launched by school officials in Ontario’s York Region.
As of Wednesday evening, the Twitter account @GTAconfession was inaccessible to users. The administrator of the account confirmed in an email to CTVNews.ca that he or she chose to deactivate it.
@GTAconfession encouraged teens to send their secrets through email. The account then tweeted out the content, often including the name or initials of the school the alleged confessor attends. In almost every case, no names were used.
The majority of tweets were graphic in nature, referring to illicit drug use or explicit sexual acts.
Some of the more tame tweets included:
“One day me and my buddie (sic) got so high that we passed out on the bus and ended up in Scarborough-Newmarket.”
Another tweet: “I’ve hooked up with all my guy friends…Some girl friends too-Aurora.”
@GTAconfession has drawn considerable attention, boasting nearly 60,000 followers.
Prior to the account’s deactivation, York Region District School Board spokesperson Licinio Miguelo said in an interview that the school board has been approached by some students and their families regarding the contents of the tweets from @GTAconfession, as well other similar social media accounts.
“As a result of these Twitter confession accounts we do have students who have felt victimized and we do consider these types of accounts to be cyberbullying,” Miguelo said.
School officials brought the Twitter account to York Regional Police’s attention in mid-March, as part of an “ongoing dialogue” with police to address issues of cyberbullying, Miguelo said.
He said the YRDSB would seek to have the account shut down, and had asked all of the board's high school principals to address the matter with students.
In an email to CTV News sent prior to the account’s deactivation, the administrator of @GTAconfession said that the account is a way for high school students to “vent out” secrets.
If people feel victimized by the tweets, “I have no knowledge of it,” the tweeter said.
“The only emails I have received about such issue have been ones from people politely asking to remove a tweet (they) feel was directed at them,” the administrator wrote. “I quickly respond and delete the email and they thank me and say they’re fans of the account.”
The administrator said the school board’s complaint to police “seems a bit ridiculous.”
“I'm not looking to harm anyone and if they were to just email the account I would be happy to discuss their concerns without involving the police.”
Some parents told CTV Barrie that the tweets are unacceptable.
“It’s very worrisome that they put themselves out there like that,” said one woman.
York Region Police say after reviewing the account, they haven’t found anything illegal.
“From the initial look into the site itself and the postings, there was not an element of criminality to the posts,” YRP spokesperson Cst. Andy Pattenden said, saying no names or photos are being used.
Pattenden likened the confession tweets to messages scrawled on lockers or inside bathroom stalls.
The constable said police have dealt with cases in the past where people have made “specific threats” over social media and the people responsible have been arrested and charged.
With files from CTV Barrie’s Mike Walker