During some late-night doom scrolling, I came across multiple confessional pages for UBC Okanagan students who, while not affiliated with UBCO, were sharing anonymous confessions from students in the community.

Sites like these are not a new phenomenon, with TV shows such as Gossip Girl and the notorious student cohort ranking page, FaceMash, which started as a precursor for the modern-day Meta now on most of our parents' phones. This app was a harsh social tool that ranked Harvard University classmates based on attractiveness. It was the perfect example of how the power of social media would become an excellent tool for amplifying voices but also promoting bullying and gossip.  

I wanted to gain more insight into the operation and intention behind these pages, which often share information about the university, campus life, and individuals. There are multiple contacts for these sites, and I contacted @UBCO_Crush_Confessions and @UBCO_Confessions to ask them some questions.

Over direct messages on Instagram, I began with a simple but common inquiry: why did you start the page? 

@UBCO_Confessions responded, “We were inspired to create this page by the vibrant community at UBCO, especially during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

They added, “We wanted to spread joy and provide a platform for students to share their everyday thoughts, funny mistakes, and memorable stories without fear of judgment. Our main goal is to bring smiles during exam seasons and stressful weeks or provide a platform to let out a much-needed rant.”

Similarly, @UBCO_Crush_Confessions began during COVID-19, and having seen past confession pages slowly retire, they explained, “Me and my friends started joking about making one when the pandemic died down a bit, and I eventually made one myself without telling anyone.”

I was curious, as I assumed confessions could either be too graphic or personal to promote on their social media. How did they manage the responsibility of confessions to ensure they were not sharing material that could be defamatory or too personal?

@UBCO_Crush_Confessions responded, “Since it's a confession page, I always thought the more details people provide, the easier it would be for their crush to realize the confession is about them! But I discovered that many people, especially men, would point out things that weren't very pleasant about these people.”

In more detail, they said, “No girl would want a guy who supposedly admires them to talk about how they have dead ends, how big their chest is, or note in a stalkerish way that you're always there in that one study room. I try to post these on my stories or write certain captions to educate people and show that there are nicer ways to get your crush to notice you than objectifying them publicly and that no one deserves this treatment regardless of your intentions.”

Interestingly, @UBCO_Confessions told me this process looked different, and they have an administrative team of two to three people checking for confessions. “We don’t require any student information,” they said. “You can post your confession anonymously; we cannot know who you are. You can freely share without the burden of judgment. Rest assured, no matter how bad your confession may be, someone else has been there, too.” 

Going on, I wanted to know from their perspectives how their activity has created social engagement for the UBCO community. @UBCO_Confessions explained, “We’re all about sparking conversations and exploring different topics throughout the year, including the controversial ones. We often use the voting feature to see where everyone stands.”

@UBCO_Confessions explained how to access this community input as they continued, “We’ve curated many saved stories on Kelowna resources, from recommended courses to the best hangout spots.” 

The @UBCO_Confessions admins maintained that their page is a collective effort.

“This page isn’t about us—it’s all about the UBCO community, and we’re grateful for the trust they’ve placed in us over the past four years,” they said. “UBCO Confessions? It’s yours to own.”

In response to the same question, @UBCO_Crush_Confessions stated their opinion.

 “l think [the page] helps people interact with each other in the comments, maybe even meet their crushes.” 

However, the admin admitted, “Being in my fifth year, I have started to think that dating apps and confession pages are pushing people away from interacting with their crushes in person. I think socializing with strangers is a trait most people gain in university, and it almost might be better to return to the old days when we approached people in person.”

Ethically, confession pages can be dubious, whatever the intentions may be. Speaking with the admins of these pages has been a great way to understand the thought processes behind the scenes. After my inquiries, it is evident that, as the admins of these pages state, they are genuinely run by the students.

This control means every student can make each “confessions page” a positive and robust environment that focuses on uplifting one another rather than ostracizing each other. The decision is yours.