Gadsden Confessions: Harmless or hurtful? - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Gadsden Confessions: Harmless or hurtful?

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In this age of social media people can spill the beans about whatever with a few clicks of the keyboard. A Facebook page called Gadsden Confessions certainly allows users to do that. But some say the confessions are way out of hand, and that they've turned into attacks.

One of our Facebook friends asked us to look into the Gadsden Confessions page.

Gadsden confessions is one of several pages popping up all over social media. Some comments are innocent like confessions about secret crushes. Others involve allegations of racism and promiscuity. They even resort to name calling.

Is it all harmless or hurtful? It depends on who you ask.

Reginald Mann and Bridgett McWhorter are friends. Both have visited the Gadsden Confessions page on Facebook. Both have very different opinions about it.

"I like it. It makes me laugh," says Mann.

"I just think it's a bunch of drama," said McWhorter.

Gadsden Confessions allows Facebook users to anonymously confess details about their lives. For instance, one person admitted to having a crush on a person with the initials E.W.

Seems innocent enough. But  scroll through the page and you'll notice many of the posts about sex, gossip, name calling and use curse words. There are also allegations of racism, threats and much more. In fact, most comments can't be shown on television because of the language.

University of Alabama instructor and social media expert, Randall Huffaker, says confession pages appeal to peoples' human nature to gossip without having rumors traced back to them. Huffaker says gossip can be a form of bullying, especially when it's done in large groups. Even if the groups are formed online.

Mann admits that many of the posts are malicious. But he has some advice.

"Don't get on there. You don't have to get on there if you don't want to. If you don't want to get on there then don't get on there," he said.

Still, McWhorter says even if a person chooses not to participate online, the gossip from the page boils over onto the streets.

"It's pretty much just people talking about other people. It's just like he said she said stuff," she said.

One Facebook user became so fed up with Gadsden Confessions a new page was created. It's called "Get Rid of Gadsden Confessions".

It has more than 650 likes. That's nearly double what Gadsden Confessions has. Apparently the group succeeded. On October 14th someone posted that the page was gone. But that same day another page  was created. And the war of the pages continues.

Gadsden resident Kim Meadows says not only do the posts hurt people, they hurt the city.

"They're slandering everybody's name in Gadsden and they're making Gadsden look really bad."

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