A new Instagram account called @namingcreeps, created by a Stanford undergraduate on Tuesday invited Stanford students to anonymously name “creeps” on campus using a Google form.
The first post on the account stated, “I’m only here for survivors.” In the description, the creator wrote, “I will post whatever people submit.” In that post was a link to the anonymous Google form, stating, “you don’t need to say anything other than a name but feel free to say whatever you want.”
The morning after the account was created, it was made private and could not be publicly viewed.
However, in a short period of time, there were four posts, alleging (without evidence) several “creeps.” Several undergraduate students were identified by name, and a service worker on campus by location.
The Review will not publish any of the anonymous allegations posted to the account, as they are completely unverified and potentially fabricated.
Regarding hearsay allegations, the student wrote, “... if it’s hearsay, submit them anyways lmaooo IDGAF. If it’s only hearsay, you gotta do something to earn that reputation.”
There are many reasons to falsely accuse someone of being “a creep.” With a platform like @namingcreeps, liars would be free to share without consequence. The creator had no way to know the veracity of any claims submitted.
Through a series of posts on a personal Instagram account, the Review learned the identity of the student responsible for the account. We reached out to them for a comment on this story, asking why they created the account, whether they believe it accomplished a social goal, and why they made it private.
Several minutes later, the @namingcreeps account had been removed from Instagram.
Despite the author’s casual use of “lmaooo,” 5th Amendment due process protections are no laughing matter. In light of this, the Review has reached out to the Title IX Office and the Office of Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse Education & Response (SARA) for comment on the account. Neither responded.
In contrast to the Instagram account, the Callisto campus sexual assault reporting service has measures in place to safeguard against false claims, including sending an automatic Title IX report to Stanford if a person’s name is reported twice. The current version of the program, started by the ASSU, will be discontinued in June. The ASSU did not respond to a request for comment.
Unlike the creator of @namingcreeps, the Review doesn’t believe in public naming and shaming. As such, we’re withholding the name of that student, who thankfully deleted the account. In their anonymous statement to the Review, they wrote:
“I made the page with the intention of giving survivors a chance to hold perpetrators accountable and ensure that the general public knew of any potential dangers in the community. I realize now that the exact form of the account was inherently flawed. Providing names without context was ripe for abuse and led to the perpetuation of rumors and falsehoods without any verifiability. Though my intentions were good, I recognize no one person should wield that kind of power and I want to sincerely apologize for any harm that may have been caused by the account. I personally cannot endorse, did not verify, and cannot vouch for any names that were published.”
We hope that in the future, they’ll remember the Fundamental Standard: that Stanford students are expected “to uphold the rights and dignity of others...” By setting up this page, the creator violated not just the Fundamental Standard at Stanford, but standards of decency and fairness.
This account did nothing to help survivors. It did nothing to prevent sexual assault. It served a single draconian purpose: anonymous character assassination.
Unfortunately, it seems that this was actually a source of popularity for the account: in its one-day existence it garnered nearly 50 followers, most of them students.
Those followers probably thought that they were supporting survivors, just as the creator of the account claimed. But trampling on the rights of others with such nonchalance actually undermines the right of survivors to be heard in a fair and just way, and the work of people at the ASSU and the Title IX office to uphold that right.
It’s a worrying sign that so many at Stanford were eager to do just that.