By Amelia Foley
A Snapchat account called “fsu.snaps” was created and launched last month. Students are able to post pictures to show their peers, and everyone else viewing the account, what they are doing.
The account lasted approximately two weeks on Snapchat before it was banned. It then resurfaced on a different app called Fleek.
Before being banned, the Snapchat account posted an ad on its story which read, “Screenshot & Read: We can’t show everything on Snapchat or our account will get deleted. You can view the FULL STORY on: Fleek College Stories in the App Store. (We will continue to post here as long as possible, but we expect to get banned soon.)”
The app Fleek is similar to Snapchat. It features submissions from students and they appear for all users to see for 24 hours. When students download the app, it prompts them to select a school and, when they do, it allows them to see not only its regular story, FSU Snaps, but also an X-rated version, FSU Snaps X, which shows nude and risque photos.
When users open the app, it looks identical to Snapchat. Users can even use the same filters.
Sean Haufler, a recent graduate of Yale University and Fleek developer, posted to Twitter saying, “Just launched my new app: Fleek. It’s like Snapchat meets Yik Yak.”
It remains unclear who exactly is running the account. In February, Haufler tweeted, “@itsJonHowell, @JosephPALbanese Domino lives on as Fleek =).” Haufler could not be reached to comment.
Other school stories shown on the app are viewable to users, but the X-rated version is not viewable.
Other schools using the app include Bentley University, Boston University, Suffolk University, Worcester State University, UMass Lowell and Bridgewater State.
The regular story has submissions of students doing everything from taking pictures of scenery and selfies, to smoking bongs and drinking in dorms.
One post showed a student pouring Captain Morgan from a wine glass into a Ush tank. The user captioned the video, “Round 3. Hookin him up.”
Another post captioned “Roomie Goals,” showed three students lighting bongs together at the same time.
One image showed a student smoking a bong in an old Hemenway Lab.
Another video showed a female student crawling on the ground with beer bottles on her fingers while she purred and was captioned, “Kitty is drunk.”
As is the case for Yik Yak, users on Fleek can “up vote” and “down vote” pictures.
Users on Yik Yak who have viewed photos on Fleek have used Yik Yak as a way to give feedback, and some of those comments are callous.
For example, one recent user posted, “Blue thong on FSU.Snaps u actually don’t have an ass, It’s just fat...juuuussst fat. #stopfatlogic.”
Another user posted, “Fleek sucks because it’s all anonymous so no one takes accountability for their snaps.”
Junior Victoria Clark said, “I don’t get why everyone would want everyone to know their business.”
Sophomore Hannah Tzivanis said, “I think it’s ridiculous that girls are basically prostituting their bodies over Snapchat. I just don’t understand what they’re getting out of it. Maybe it’s some weird self-esteem thing.”
Sophomore Chloe Lima said, “I think it could be good if people weren’t just posting naked pictures of themselves.”
Dean of Students Melinda Stoops said the University and University Police have not received any complaints about the app so far.
“If a student does have a photo posted on there without their consent, I would encourage them to go to Campus Police,” she said.
Stoops added, “I think something like this can encourage some very poor choices, and some people may have some regrets from it, and, unfortunately, that may be a life lesson for some of these students.”
Stoops advised students to “think before they post.
“Just ask yourself, ‘Would I want people to see this in 10 or 20 years? How would I feel about my parents seeing this post or my faculty seeing this post?’ ... If the answer is no, I suggest people hold back on posting it.”
In a Fleek app review in the Apple App Store, Kerri W. posted on Nov. 10, “These guys have been stealing pictures from my Instagram along with some of the other girls that go to my school and using it in their app. I’ve contacted The CEO on Twitter to take it down but he hasn’t replied! Take my pictures off your app now!!!!”
Senior Rebecca Littlefield said, “Students don’t realize how much trouble they can get in by posting themselves doing illegal things.”
Junior Gabi Bono said, “I think people need to be more careful because it [what they post] could backfire.”
Sociology Professor Virginia Rutter said students using the app may feel “free to express themselves. “We still live in a power relations world where women’s bodies are still subject to a double standard. ... People may be using public nudity as an act of resistance, like freedom of expression, but it means different things to different people.”
Rutter said students feel like they are in an “ivory tower” when they are at college. Students feel “insulated” on a college campus, which may make them feel “a little freer” than they actually are.
“Students feel like they have more sexual freedom,” said Rutter, “so they don’t think what goes on in college will affect them later in life.”
Communication Arts Professor Niall Stephens said apps such as Yik Yak, Snapchat and Fleek “make it easier to communicate in a setting that isn’t face to face.
“A lot of people use these apps without even thinking about how they work.”
Stephens said, “We don’t really know what these media are going to do for us or maybe somebody else, or how they might hurt us in the long run.” He added the data we share, post, comment on and like is all being collected.
“Knowing what people like is very valuable to some people. These companies that collect the data sell it to insurance companies, marketing agencies, law enforcement and other government agencies.”
Stephens said for apps to be successful, they have to be an “innovative idea” and they have to “respond to a need.
“People wanted to send pictures that weren’t permanent, and Snapchat gave people that.”
A new ad was submitted on the Fleek story that said, “Our new Snapchat name is snap.fsu.” But when students added the new account on Snapchat, the entire story was dark blurry pictures where nothing was visible.
Students once again took to Yik Yak to find out what was going on with the new account. One user yakked, “Is anyone else getting all blurry pictures on the new fsu snap?”
Another user said, “So what’s going on with the new fsu snaps?? Why are they all blurry?”
The FSU account on Snapchat is still running.
Amy Rotger said, “It’s so stupid.”
Carla Hauck said she doesn’t understand why people would post nude photos.
Micaela Beando said, “People shouldn’t post the things that they post. Too many nudes.”