“Megan b. you may know a lot of people but no one really likes you. It’s a surprise you got into ASBSU. You should hit the gym sometime.”
This statement was posted on Bronco Confessions 2.0 on Thursday, Sept. 19. For some people, most people, this statement would be devastating. Megan Buxton however, is stronger than most.
“The Bronco Confessions post was definitely a shock. I did not take it to heart, but I can easily see how posting something like this could cause some serious damage,” Buxton said. “I actually felt much better after reading the responses posted by my friends. I am really lucky to have such a strong support system. I could only think about what I had done to this person to cause such a post to be warranted. If I honestly wronged the person, then I would like to apologize for what I have done.”
Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU) President, Ryan Gregg, commented on the site immediately after the post in defense of Buxton.
“Megan is one of the most compassionate people and the best friend that you could ask for. I’m ashamed that you are part of our Bronco community. You should be ashamed of yourself for how nasty your comments are,” Gregg said. “This is not the way that we treat people at Boise State, especially those who make the choice to serve.”
Gregg then voiced his opinion on cyber harassment in general.
“Cyber harassment is a serious issue. It’s an issue for kids who are high school age and now in college and life beyond. It’s unfortunate that we’re dealing with this because it’s a new way for people to be nasty to one another with no—or few—consequences,” Gregg said.
The administrator of the site, who chose to remain anonymous, posted an apology a few days later and removed
Multiple government agencies and schools alike have begun a war against cyber bullying.
It is important to note that most of those organizations are specific to minors. According to WiredSafety, cyber bullying refers to minors targeting minors and cyber harassment refers to adults targeting minors or adults targeting adults.
Cruel comments on Bronco Confessions 2.0 would be classified as cyber harassment which is increasingly more difficult to control by law. According to National Conference of State Legislatures, 40 out of 50 states have laws specific to cyber harassment. Idaho is not one of those states, but cyber harassment is definitely present in Idaho.
The comment made about Buxton was not the only example of cyber harassment found on the page.
“Confession: I hate myself more and more every day,” one post said.
“Probably with good reason,” commented Robert Moore directly beneath the post.
The site administrator released a statement on the site regarding the cruel posts before he apologized and removed the post about Buxton.
“Please remember that cyber bullying is a real thing that does hurt people. So here’s what I’m going to try: If you see something with your name on it that is any way demeaning to you, shoot me a message and I will immediately remove the post,” he said.
He then explained to the Arbiter how the demeaning comment about Buxton impacted him.
“A few days ago, I let a demeaning post about a girl slip and I got tons of feedback. Everyone sent me messages about cyber bullying and how mean it was to post something bad about that girl,” he said. “I’m actually really glad that so many people got on me about that one, because it shows that they have respect for one another, and they don’t have any tolerance for cyber bullying either.”
The administrator went on to express what he wants for the site.
“I want this site to be a place that everyone can come and feel safe; I would hate for someone to be harassed and feel bad about themselves because of my site,” he said.
According to Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, users will not “bully, intimidate, or harass any user.”
By using or accessing Facebook all members are required to abide by these terms of service.
In addition to abiding by Facebook’s rules, Gregg argues that Boise State students and faculty have to abide by a different set of standards.
“When you’re a member of the campus community you have to play by a set of different rules. You have to think about our statement of shared values. You have to be respectful, and responsible and a good citizen—along with the other values of course. This means we have to act differently,” Gregg said.
Side Bar: courtesy ABC News
1. Recognize the situation for what it is: Online harassment. It can also be referred to as cyberbullying, but regardless of the name, know that this is a sign of weakness for the perpetrator. As upsetting as it can be, recognize that it’s extremely important that you DO NOT respond to this person. Engaging with the bully often only makes matters worse. They feed off their victim’s misery and pain.
2. Make a copy of the message, photo or video. The best way to do this is to copy the URL of the specific webpage where it’s happening. Then screenshot the webpage, just in case.
3. Contact the website operators by phone, email and any contact submission forms that they have available on their site. Request that they take the content down immediately, and let them know that you’re filing a case with your local police department. Remain persistent. Continue calling and emailing the website operators until the content has been removed.
4. File a report with your local police department. While some police departments have an “Internet crimes division,” many do not. So unfortunately, in many cases the police can only get involved if your life has been threatened.
5. If necessary, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The IC3 is a partnership between the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance. They work together to track down serious cases of online criminal complaints.