By Oliver Zuniga
“Stacy’s a slut.” “John is an idiot.” “I’m bringing a gun to school.” Burn book is an absolute cesspool.
Burn Book, which hit most app stores in September, was created by John Lucas in an attempt to allow teenagers a free flow of information where they can express ideas and their thoughts about what goes on at school. While the idea is noble, the title may suggest otherwise.
Reportedly taking inspiration from the movie “Mean Girls” that featured a book full of insults and gossip on the entire school, the app has lead to cyberbullying cases, bomb-threats, gun scares, fights, and outright threats of violence. While Lucas has stated that he meant no harm in the creation of the app, the content has damaged many people’s lives.
The now infamous app that’s been condemned on the news and various radio shows, functions similar to the college-life oriented social media app Yik-Yak where users can make “anonymous” posts pertaining to their university and other users can upvote or downvote their favorite posts.
While the app may seem promising and even hold some sort of value as a social experiment, the false sense of anonymity has lead to posts featuring threats of violence, cyber-bullying, and sharing nude pictures (usually child pornography) to be tracked by IP address and reported to administrators and even the police.
Although the premise of spreading lies, slander and anger on the internet anonymously would seem without repercussions, the Burn Book app has lead to suspensions, expulsions and even arrests.
At Bonita, Burn Book led to a gun threat and a subsequent lockdown. What is shocking about the app is the seeming mob mentality that streams from negativity. With a large majority of the school population having seen the threatening posts, it is shocking to see that there has not been a huge movement to ban the app other than a local radio station trying to create a negative stigma , or at least report abuse and gun threats. Even though someone did end up reporting the gun threat, people continue to post inappropriate and slandering messages.
While Burn Book has been controversial, it truly shows just how two-faced and fake many people really are. People who maintain a positive image at school could also be posting slandering content on Burn Book. The shock that comes with reading Bonita Vista’s Burn Book page is strong. Although we maintain a high academic standard, and good test scores, Bonita Vista’s Burn Book is markedly worse than others in the area.
Even though this may be disheartening, Burn Book also gives an accurate picture of just how bad social relations and friendships are here at Bonita. People who may be “friends” may just as well be posting rumors or attacking each other over Burn Book.
The app also reveals the inner thoughts of many students, showing the negativity that people are bogged down by. People may be able to point the finger at the creator of Burn Book for creating a mode of expression where people can post anonymously, the problem is not having somewhere to post slander, there have always been apps like that. The problem is people and how negative they are. It isn’t the app and its existence that needs to change, but rather the students and their mindsets.