Photographer:Fotograaf: Simone Golob
Behind the Status
“I buy cheap bike locks and lock other people’s bikes...”
Confessions of all sorts are being made every day on the Maastricht University Confessions Facebook page. Since the end of March 2013, the page has received almost 6000 likes. “Starting the page wasn’t my own idea”, says Mentor Palokaj (22), UCM student in Life Sciences. “My girlfriend’s sister returned home from studying in Adelaide and told us about this page where students could make confessions anonymously. I decided Maastricht needed a page like that.” It was exam week at the time and with so many students looking for a distraction from their studies, the page went viral and received more than 2000 likes in the first few days.
Submitting a confession is easy. You anonymously send your message to a special site, shown on the page’s cover photo. Your confession ends up in a Google document, and every day around ten of the latest confessions are posted on the page. Palokaj: “It’s all automatic so I don’t spend any time on the page on a daily basis.” However, some people make the mistake of sending their confession directly to the page in a private message. “Yeah, I do know some embarrassing stuff about certain people”, Palokaj laughs. “I guess that’s the price some people have to pay for their stupidity.”
Because the confessions are posted automatically, they are not censored. “I have access to all the messages that have yet to be posted, but I rarely check them out.” Still, if a post is too insulting, Palokaj removes it from Facebook. “A while ago someone kept submitting Nazi propaganda. When confessions get too many negative responses, I remove them.”
Although the page doesn’t take a lot of time to maintain, running it is no walk in the park. “Once the police visited my house at two o’clock in the morning. An offensive message had been posted on the page and the police thought I was behind it. I wasn’t at home at the time so I heard about it the next day. Still, I wonder what the police might have done if I actually had been home.”