On Monday, Oct. 21, the Tiger Confessions Facebook group was shut down, and all of the past content in it was deleted. In an email to students who had applied to moderate the page, the group administrator Christine Hu ’22, also known by the alias Ty Ger, announced that she has decided to close the group.
Hu went on to explain that there were so many responses to the admin interest form that she “didn’t have the means of running a fair selection process.” She added that for personal reasons, she currently does not have the time required to evaluate the applications.
“Over the past year, I have become anxious about the possible negative impacts of the group, such as the radicalization of political views, the alienation of students with dissenting opinions, or the enablement of stalking or harassment,” Hu went on. “When students tell me how the page has negatively impacted their lives, those comments weigh extremely heavily on me, and that weight finally reached a peak this weekend.”
Hu explained she felt it necessary to her own mental health to know that all the Tiger Confessions posts were deleted, particularly the earlier ones that “might have been filtered according to laxer standards.”
Since its inception nearly a year ago on Oct. 30, 2018, the closed group has garnered mass popularity among the University student body. As of Monday, it included 5,175 members and nearly 12,000 posts. The group featured near-daily anonymous posts submitted via Google Forms on a wide range of topics, including personal compliments, relationship advice, mental-health concerns, and political disagreements. For much of its run, the group was administered by the anonymous Ty Ger, who came forward with her identity in an interview with the University Press Club this past April.
Some students interviewed by The Daily Princetonian expressed disappointment at the group’s closure.
“[The University] has a stress culture and socialization culture around eating clubs that many students can find challenging, no matter how strong they are,” said Jessica Zheng ’19, a recent alum and frequent commenter in the group. “I’m disappointed because [Tiger Confessions] was a platform where people could openly talk about mental health and seek out support.” The platform, she felt, was particularly important for people like her who come from cultures where discussion of mental health may be stigmatized.
Colin Vega ’22, another frequent commenter, expressed that the closure was “for the best,” since “any system of anonymity can so easily hurt someone's feelings deeper than you ever would with someone you don't know.”
Vega added that although the page “had its good moments,” it also promoted “an already prevalent Princeton mindset of complaining because something is mildly difficult, and instead of working through it, drowning in self-pity and the self-pity of people who are encouraged by your complaints.”
Others did not see the platform as a vital mental health resource to begin with.
“I’d say it’s something we just go to for our daily dose of comedy,” said William Gu ’23.
Going forward, Zheng expressed hope for a “Tiger Confessions 2.0,” preferably on the Facebook platform.
As of 8:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22, a new group was shared on the Overheard at Princeton Facebook page called Tiger Confessions++ that has 122 members thus far, with Zheng among them. The message, from an account called Tyga Er, clarified that it is not affiliated with the original Tiger Confessions, but wants to “bring back some of the charm of the original.”
Andrew White ’22 said he is interested to see what will fill the vacuum left by Tiger Confessions closing: “I know there’s that ‘Looped’ app that kind of has an anonymous platform but I don’t know. We’ll see.”
In her announcement email to moderator applicants, Hu encouraged looking toward the new Looped app as a replacement resource. She noted that the University alums who developed the start-up created a moderator process that would be “less time-consuming and stressful.” Hu herself does not plan to be involved with the app.
Looped was launched by University alums and TigerLaunch winners Richard Adjei ’18 and Felix Madutsa ’18 on Oct. 16 and sees itself as a “digital town square,” according to Madutsa.
An Undergraduate Student Government (USG) email sent out to the student body on Oct. 20 described the app as a place where “students can post in various channels to ask for/give campus advice, share funny moments, promote events, send memes, and raise awareness about protests and the important issues surrounding them.”
“We do see ourselves filling the need that [the closure of] Tiger Confessions has left,” said Madutsa. “But we also see ourselves filling a much bigger need than what was already filled by Tiger Confessions before.”
Adjei said that in the research phase of creating Looped, he and Madutsa spoke with Hu to understand what problems she has encountered in moderating Tiger Confessions, and used her feedback in guiding their process.
“The anonymous channels for jokes and discussing things anonymously will be heavily monitored to make sure people aren’t using it for malicious activity,” Adjei added.