This particular variation is a Facebook page called "....... Secrets" (the dots indicate the Academy's name which I am not sharing for obvious reasons) which the pupils of the not-said Academy are induced to follow to discover the deep and, predictably, dirty secrets of their peers.
It's a "thing" that has been going around the city, which has had a Secrets page to itself on both Twitter and Facebook. So has an adjoining town though whether this phenomenon has spread to other schools and towns outside the area, I have no idea.
The basis it seems, in the manifestations I have seen, seems to be setting up either a Facebook page or Twitter account run by someone who chooses, not surprisingly, to remain anonymous. They ask followers or members to send in other people's dirty secrets and then publish them on the net for all group members and/ or followers to see. Of course the posts spread further than that as anyone can see retweets on Twitter and follower's comments made on Facebook.
"It's just a bit of fun. Everybody knows its not true," said TeenTwin2 when I saw a Facebook post that she had joined the group. She may even have rolled her eyes at my unsophisticated appreciation of modern social networking
And everyone might think it IS just a bit of fun, but the potential to cause intentional hurt is enormous. If it was a bit of fun why should the group/ account management be anonymous? If it was a bit of fun why choose only the salacious, the embarrassing and the illegal as the things to share because, surprise, surprise, every secret is about someone doing something they shouldn't have or someone doing something to someone they shouldn't have. None of which is true. Probably.
It's that "probably" that gets in the way of it being a bit of fun. There are reasons that the phrase "No smoke without fire" is a cliche because people WILL choose to believe what is being said about people whether it's true or not.
And TeenTwin2 agreed, after I patiently explained my position* to un-join the school group that has been set up. "It's not as though I won't see what's being said," she rightly said, "Because it's on everyone else's time line."
True enough. Being a Facebook friend of friends of the TeenTwins, I've also seen what is going on too and this afternoon came across my daughter's name in one of the posts which was, well, horrible. It didn't really matter what was said, but that someone, someone unknown, had taken the trouble to say it that disturbed me most.
I am entirely grateful that I have brought all my children up not to give much of a stuff about what people think about them and that they have the confidence to deal with anonymous rumours without falling, completely, to pieces. And deal with it she did, with humour and panache *relieved face* but I'm not sure that everyone who ends up named, shamed and giggled at by their peers would or could.
And if, or maybe when, someone, anyone, fails to see the "funny side" of what those anonymous posts say about them then none of it will be very much fun anymore.
*had a bit of a rant