Opinion/News: App developer thinks we are stupid

By Billy Huntsman

Managing Editor

fleek 2
Photo from Fleek. Photo from Marsha White.

Two “outraged parents” recently emailed The Round Up/Oncore Magazine, urging us to inform the NMSU community as to the vulgarity of a new iPhone app.

Marsha White and Linda Allen asked to remain anonymous, as they claim to be parents of students at NMSU. But I don’t believe in granting anonymity to liars.

They claim their daughters had been using an app called Fleek.

“OH MY GOD, the content on that app is NOT OKAY,” Allen says in her email.  “Literally every other picture is an NMSU student smoking POT, binge drinking, partying, or sharing NUDE photographs!”

Interestingly, the same thing was told to Eagle News at Florida Gulf Coast University, a writer for which published an editorial in response to the app and email they received.

“‘OH MY GOD, the content on that app is NOT OKAY,’” the writer at Eagle News quotes the mother who asked to remain anonymous.  “Literally every other picture is a FGCU student smoking POT, binge drinking, partying, or sharing NUDE photographs!”

We interrupt your previously scheduled programming to say: Clearly, something is rotten in Denmark.

TRU/OM attempted to contact Allen and White, to get their responses to the similarities.  White says she was “completely sincere” in expressing her concern and denied knowing Allen, who has not responded. This article will be updated when/if she responds.

Maybe White is being honest. Maybe she really is a parent of an NMSU student, and is concerned about her daughter’s college experiences.

In such case, I’ll gladly write an apology and publish it on this website. White and her daughter, S., can contact me at truprint@nmsu.edu or at 575-646-5434.

Until such time as they contact me, however, my knee-jerk reaction is the “outraged parents” and their emails are part of a marketing campaign.

It would be an ingenious one had not both “parents” emailed us.  Either they made a mistake, or they think we, TRU/OM, AND student news organizations all over the country are stupid.

I choose to believe the latter, as I resent attempts at manipulation.

The fact Fleek tried to pull one over on us angers me.  But when I think if Fleek had contacted us and asked us to do some endorsement, it’s unlikely we would have done so.

So I suppose their hands were tied.

They asked us to spread the word about how vulgar their app is, so I will oblige them.  It evidently is very vulgar.

fleek 1
Photo supposedly from Fleek. Photo from Marsha White.

Whether you choose to download it and support the actions of a shadowy, underhanded, insulting, idiotic developer is up to you.  I would urge you not be a moron.

Now back to the news.

According to The Daily Targum at Rutgers University, which published a story about Fleek but did not quote any emails they received, Fleek came about after Snapchat launched the Campus Story feature, which permits only appropriate material to a school’s feed.

Before Campus Stories, students at Rutgers had apparently been uploading “photos of weed bowls and videos of students peeing in bushes” to a community account called ru.snapyak.  Similar community accounts had been “popping up at colleges across the country.”

For comparison of the emails, read Allen’s below:

Dear (former executive director), My daughter is in the class of 2018 at NMSU. She got homesick and came home this weekend. The whole time she was home she was glued to her iPhone, which is very unlike her. I asked her what she was doing and she said she was watching “NMSU Fleek”. I don’t know what Fleek is (apparently it has some kind of gangster connotation?), but OH MY GOD, the content on that app is NOT OKAY. Literally every other picture is an NMSU student smoking POT, binge drinking, partying, or sharing NUDE photographs! All under the name of NMSU, with the logo and everything. I downloaded the app and have been watching it, and I have to say, I am very concerned for my daughter. I’m sure I am not the only parent who feels this way. As the school newspaper, I think you have the responsibility to expose this inappropriate app for what it is. Thank you, Parent of D. ’18 p.s. My daughter doesn’t know I’m writing this and I would like to respect her privacy by not disclosing her identity. However if you have any questions please feel free to ask me.

And White’s:

Hi (former online editor), I am the proud mother of a sophomore at NMSU and I wanted to write you a quick note regarding a social media app that I’ve found my daughter and her friends using recently. I heard about “Fleek College Stories” whilst visiting my daughter over the weekend– at first I thought nothing of it, but upon taking a closer look at the app myself I was shocked to see NMSU students smoking marijuana and drinking under the NMSU name. I even saw that there was an “NSFW” story specifically for nude photos! I did a little research and apparently this app is at schools other than NMSU, which I think is even more cause for concern: http://www.dailytargum.com/article/2015/10/fleek-college-stories-replaces-ru-snapyak http://eaglenews.org/opinion/new-fgcu-app-is-off-fleek/ I’ve always been aware of the negative impacts of apps like Yik Yak and Snapchat, but I definitely think that Fleek is an unsafe outlet for students to share their thoughts and experiences. I’m not sure how other NMSU students’ parents feel about Fleek, but I definitely do not want my daughter to have any part of this app. I hope that you’ll have more insight into this world than I’ve had. You can see for yourself but I’ve attached some vulgar images from the NMSU story. Best, Parent of ‘S class of 2018 Ps: In respect for my daughter I am opting to keep her name private. If you have any questions however I happy to field them.

Author: nmsuroundup

The student voice of New Mexico State University since 1907.

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