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The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

Fizz users target student, test app moderators

Moderators of the social media platform were put to the test last week when more than a dozen Fizzes blasted a Washington and Lee sophomore
Claire Hamlet
According to Fizz guidlines, users can report content that includes indentifiable information about students, which includes students’ names.

Roger Hart first heard of Fizz when an advertisement for the anonymous social media was slipped under the doorway of his dorm in early January. Hart, ’26, downloaded the app and said he enjoyed using it at first.

“It was advertised as this YikYak alternative that could do so much more,” Hart said in an interview. “On Fizz, you could add pictures like Twitter or Vine. Everyone would post funny stuff, so it was really fun initially.”

The app allows students to post confessions, memes, events and polls anonymously and is only accessible with a valid student email address. This ensures Washington & Lee students exclusively converse with each other on Fizz, further differentiating it from YikYak and allowing students to use the app while away from campus.

But Hart stopped consistently using the app after a few weeks.

“Literally, who has the time to go on Fizz?” he joked.

It wasn’t until October that Hart was reminded of the app. That’s when a friend sent him an anonymous post that mentioned his name.

“I was sent one thing in a group chat, and I was like, that’s funny, so I went to Fizz,” Hart said. “It was like every single Fizz was Roger this, Roger that, yada yada yada Roger. It was crazy, I have like 15 screenshots of Fizzes.”

The first few Fizz posts that mentioned Hart last week alleged his participation in sorority recruitment.

“Roger hart is more involved in girl rush than most sophomore girls,” read one Fizz, which received over 740 upvotes. Another Fizz compared Hart to a meme image of a person with a bowl cut.

“Some of them were funny, and I wasn’t offended by those, but some people would say mean things,” Hart said. “At first, I didn’t care, but then it’s like if someone who doesn’t know me is seeing this, they’d think I was a really shitty person.”

He urged people to get to know him before believing posts that allege his meddling in sorority recruitment.

Hart’s name was trending on Fizz for four consecutive days. He said he did not begin reporting the posts until the posts became cruel and “blatantly untrue.” Friends of Hart’s joined in reporting posts, he said.

The app allows users to report posts for several reasons, including “bullying or posting personal info.” This categorizes content that “uses or solicits identifiable information about a student within the W&L community in a negative or mean-spirited context.”

It’s unclear what qualifies information as “identifiable,” though the category also includes “posts with private information (any information that is not public domain, i.e. contact information, address, whereabouts) of anyone.”

While Hart trended on the app, Fizz moderators reached out and told him they were working to take down posts as fast as possible.

“Some only stayed up for, like, 15 minutes,” Hart said. “And some just did not come down, even though people were reporting them.”

Twelve of the Fizzes made about Hart last week remain up. Most were posted between Oct. 30 and 31 and use his first name.

Fizz moderators say they are notified when a post is reported and it appears on their version of the app. Moderators must vote on the post to decide whether the content violates community guidelines or not.

Hart felt confident the posts had not come from friends of his.

“The ones about Kappas and Deltas, I was like, you wouldn’t say this about yourself,” Hart said. He’s friends with members of both sororities.

Hart suggested the posts came from male students who don’t know him personally, “but we really don’t know.”

Hart said he didn’t respond to any of the Fizzes because he believed it would only encourage more posting.

“If you want to say all of this, don’t use a platform that uses ambiguity,” Hart said of the posts. “Just say it to my face. This type of stuff can be really detrimental to people who are mentally unstable.”

Hart said he no longer likes Fizz.

“When a platform is used like this, it’s hard to support it, and it’s frustrating that the school just kind of allows this,” Hart said.

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  • S

    Sir Shirlington Applebottom Jr.Mar 5, 2024 at 12:25 pm

    I find it very interesting how the Fizz moderators just pick and choose who is or is not allowed to be made fun of. Some people get posts taken down about them immediately while others consistently get made fun of and nothing is done about it.

  • A

    AnonymouseNov 16, 2023 at 1:39 pm

    Roger has personally targetted me on Yik Yak in a much more demeaning way than what was said about him he has no platform to stand on

  • H

    Humphrey Tittlebottoms van Slootschaeger IVNov 16, 2023 at 12:15 pm

    Was Mr. Hart able to comment at all on the validity of these accusations, namely the charge that he is overly involved in the rush process for freshman girls despite himself being an upperclassman in a fraternity?