'Fashion police' Twitter account called online bullying
Account targeted fashion sense of University of Windsor students
A controversial Twitter account allegedly run by University of Windsor students and described by police as "bullying" has been deleted.
An anonymous "fashion police" Twitter account, with the handle @uWinFashionPoli, was for months tweeting photos and snarky comments critical of what university students were wearing on campus.
"How do we feel about this girl's glitter backpack? Is it obnoxious or flawless?" the fashion police ask in one tweet found stored on TOPSY, a company that stores and provides analyses of hundreds of billions of tweets.
"We didn't know green pastel tweed was supposed to be in this season. #uwinfashionpoli #uwinfashionproblems," reads another tweet.
Whoever ran the account encouraged fellow students to send their own photos and comments.
Lately, several students took to Twitter denouncing the fashion police account, which began in the summer and shut down sometime on the weekend.
Laura Nicola, a fourth-year philosophy student, was one of them.
"Lead by example! Where are your outfits? Afraid of being treated the same as you treat others?" Nicola tweeted last week.
Nicola called the account "immature."
"It’s very disturbing to think people judge you based on your outfit rather than who you are," she told CBC News. "It was typical of high school, rather than university."
Nicola wasn't alone in her public scolding of the anonymous tweeter.
"It's always easier to judge people and make rude comments about them anonymously," tweeted user Ruth U. who goes by the handle @Mumbleduck.
Some Twitter users who claimed to be students were uneasy at the thought they might be photographed on campus and then posted online for anyone to see.
"Who made you the experts? Stop being so creepy and taking people's photos without their permission," tweeted user Amy Chan who goes by the handle @AmyGleeson2.
"That was one of the things I really criticized. I don’t think it’s fair to take your picture and post it online," Nicola said. "In a world where technology is so well developed, it’s hard to expect people to respect your privacy."
Windsor police Sgt. Steve Lamarche said the fashion police account "is definitely bullying."
As part of the community services branch, Lamarche works with elementary and high school students. The branch highlights bullying and cyberbullying.
"Cyberbullying is anything that uses newer communications or Facebook or Twitter [and] narrows in on one individual or group and allows others to gang up and demean them," Lamarche said.
He said the fashion police account fit the mould of cyberbullying. It targeted a specific group and posted photos in which people could be identified by their clothes or location.
"The whole problem with cyberbullying is that you can be anonymous," Lamarche said. "There are things you say online that you wouldn't say in front of their face."
- In a previous version of this story, CBC Windsor reported that a tweet by Twitter user cMalinowska, registered to a Caroline Malinowska, was directed at @uWinFashionPoli's account. In fact the tweet we referenced was posted on her own account and appears to have been retweeted by @uWinFashionPoli. CBC regrets the error.Oct 23, 2012 9:37 AM ET