Words || Tess Connery
You don’t even need to have ‘liked’ the Macquarie Confessions page to have it flooding half your Facebook news feed. Here at Macquarie, we don’t just have one confessions page – we have two, and that’s in addition to 3-4 other defunct pages like UMACQ Confessions, UMACQ Love Confessions and Overheard at Macquarie. However, the most popular page is Macquarie Confessions, with close to 14,000 likes. So why the hell is it so popular?
Grapeshot spoke to the admin about their experience running the page – turns out they get around 100 submissions a week, and have been monitoring all of our insanity for a few years now. “Some time in 2015 one of my friends casually let slip that they were running the page and asked if I wanted to help them run it. I thought sure, why not? Unfortunately, instead of making me an admin of the page, they made me an editor which means I can only post and respond to messages. They also got their account banned so I’m stuck in a sort of limbo.”
The admin was friendly, but covert. “I feel like I might get in trouble with the uni if the higher ups find out who I am, but hopefully it’ll never come to that because I have plausible deniability.” These concerns are warranted. In late 2015, Macquarie University got in touch with the page directly – the result is that the page is no longer allowed to post anything overly sexual, racist, etc. This seems like a fairly straightforward ask, and definitely an understandable request from the University, but I do have to wonder where the line is drawn.
With submissions such as Submission #2958: Are there any cute white boys at this uni into Nepalese chicks because I don’t know any (23 March 2017) and Submission #2896: Where tf are the Aussie babes at? All I see is Asians n Indians #TrumpForPM (21 March 2017), it’s no surprise that the page has been accused of publishing sexist and racist quotes.
“Who gets to define what’s sexist and racist? Personally I’m against such things but people have the right to say whatever they want provided it isn’t obvious hate speech. If however I get a complaint about a particular post, I will remove it. Sometimes Facebook will remove posts that get reported and I get banned for posting for a month so my main focus is on keeping the page up and running.”
Well, I decided to ask the Oxford Dictionary to define what’s racist and sexist. They seemed like a pretty safe bet.
The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, on the basis of sex.
Huh. Again, maybe it’s just me, but posts like Submission #2831: Got into Macquarie Uni because I heard there’s plenty of hot Korean guys. Tag some guys so I can quench my Kpop (17 March 2017) and Submission #2827: Why are all the Asian guys at Macquarie short or taken? seem like they’re generalising. One could also argue that ending a submission with #TrumpForPm, such as in Submission #2896, could fall under hate speech in a certain context.
This is also where I’ll point out that I spent most of my time speaking to the admin through an account that had clearly been set up just to talk to me. I began messaging the admin through the Macquarie Confessions page itself, and then one day the replies simply stopped. After sending a follow up message, I got a notification of a message request from an almost blank account – it was Admin. The account was under the name of a Rick and Morty character, and the profile picture was uploaded 15 minutes before they messaged me. The Admin told me that this was because the Macquarie Confessions page was unable to send messages, due to Facebook banning them – so clearly something had been posted that Facebook deemed a bannable offense.
The Admin has a few notable stories from their time running the page. “Early last year I received a photo submission and thought I’d post it just for fun. I remember leaving my phone for a bit and the notifications blew up. My phone literally vibrated off my desk at one point. I think it’s at about 3K likes now.” I went and had a look for the photo, and I’m pretty sure Admin is referring to the picture of the guy who had set up an entire gaming system, complete with an old school TV and controllers, in the quad by the food court.
“More recently it was nice having the well-known ECON111 lecturer Prashan give us some free knowledge on why parking is so expensive this year. He even dropped a meme.”
The future of the page seems fairly stable for now. But what happens when the Admin graduates? Will the page be passed on? Will we lose Macquarie Confessions forever? “I don’t think I can trust anyone to run this page like I do so when (if, at this rate) I graduate I might keep running the page. I wouldn’t want to miss out on all the juicy MQ gossip.”