Hay River Confessions returns to Facebook, raunchiness intact

A Facebook page about Hay River, N.W.T., which quickly became a hive for disturbing and sexually graphic content, is back online after a brief pause. But it's returned with some new rules about etiquette.

New version of confessions page discourages anonymous posters from naming names

A new version of Hay River Confessions surfaced on Facebook on March 30, with the administrator asking users to keep the page a safe environment. (Facebook)

A Facebook page about Hay River, N.W.T., which quickly became a hive for disturbing and sexually graphic content, is back online after a brief pause. But it's returned with some new rules about etiquette.

Hay River Confessions — which, like many open Facebook pages of its kind, invited users to confess their "deepest darkest secrets" — relaunched on March 30 with a post from its anonymous administrator asking posters and commenters to keep the page "a safe environment". 

Content from the old page — which included boasts about rape and stories containing enough detail to identify members of the 3,700-person community — has not migrated to the new page.

"Full names will most likely be altered or deleted," the anonymous administrator wrote on the new page. "Extremely offensive confessions will most likely not be posted."

Several chat requests to the administrator of the new page have not been returned. 

Another N.W.T. confessions page, Fort Smith Confessions, was recently taken down by its anonymous administrator because he felt the posts had become "too personal and quite anti-social." 

Some posts likely fake 

Eric Meyers, an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia's School of Library, Archival & Information Studies, has studied the confessions page phenomenon. He says such pages are a mix of genuine pleas for help and attempts at shock value, and that some posts are likely fake.

"The extent to which these posts are connected to real people is something that varies greatly and is difficult to ascertain," he said.

Writing on the new Hay River Confessions page on April 2, one poster admitted to fabricating more than half a dozen confessions on the old page, including the post about rape. 

"This page just makes Hay River look bad. We aren't all actually bad!" the poster wrote.     


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