A campus social app, Fizz, started by Stanford dropouts Teddy Solomon and Ashton Cofer, has begun to put down roots in Fairfield’s community. A donut-incentivized marketing campaign took place around campus on Thursday, spiking thousands of downloads among Fairfield students over the weekend. 

Despite its popularity, this anonymous platform has taken a mean-spirited turn, with certain posts targeting specific students maliciously and on a wide scale.

So what exactly is Fizz?

The anonymous social media platform was supposedly established when the founders attended Stanford as first-years in 2020, as a means of responding to “a lack of connection and authenticity on a campus grappling with Covid restrictions.” Upon providing their student email, users are free to anonymously post combinations of pictures and written blurbs to their school’s specific page. 

According to an article published by TechCrunch+, Fizz has raised over $4.5 million dollars to expand its outreach to campuses around the nation, intending to have 50-60% of undergraduates at each campus using the platform on a daily basis. Though metrics surrounding Fairfield’s user traffic on the app are not publicly available, the most popular posts have been “upvoted” over one thousand times. 

The broader intention of the app, according to its founders, is to be “a platform of inclusivity and authenticity,” priding itself on its unique “community-based moderation” in comparison to other notoriously egregious anonymous platforms, like competitor Yik Yak.

In an interview with TechCrunch+, founder Teddy Solomon stated, “the biggest differentiating factor is the way we do moderation.” Solomon claims to hire roughly 15 content moderators at each campus the app expands to, and says that “posts are removed within less than a minute on average.”

This is certainly not the case at Fairfield. Perhaps neglected as merely a checkbox in Fizz’s goal of reaching over one thousand campuses by the end of the 2023 academic year, Fairfield’s version of the app is heavily lacking moderation. 

Its impact on our community is anything but inclusive, and frankly, it is not what we stand for. While a good portion of the content posted on Fizz consists of harmless memes and funny comments, a few bad apples are spoiling the barrel. Users have massively upvoted posts that specifically mock individual students, teams, and administrators. One such post was upvoted by roughly 18% of the total student population, a metric which reflects terribly on our campus culture.

This malicious trend is not unique to Fizz at Fairfield, however. An article from HerCampus at Hampton University echoes the same story, whereby Fizz “prompted gossip, rumors, and cyberbullying.”

Fizz’s leadership team ought to live up to its esteemed moderation efforts, or drop the sappy mission statement altogether. After all, it was this degree of cyberbullying that led to Yik Yak’s discontinuation only a few years after its initial launch in 2013; the platform didn’t get back on its feet until 2021, and only after considerable moderation efforts were implemented.

Despite the fact that Fizz can’t seem to put its money where its mouth is, I’d like to believe the wider Fairfield community will choose not to engage in malicious behavior on the app. Here at Fairfield, we believe in the Jesuit ideal of acting as men and women for others. Let’s try to remember that, regardless of “what’s fizzin.”

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