Lusting over friend’s lovers, confessions of kleptomania, construction complaints – it’s all on the Facebook page Whitehorse Anonymous.
“Every time he takes her to the bedroom or is flirty with her, I can’t help but feel like I missed out on her,” reads one post.
“How do you all dispose of cooking grease? I’ve been putting mine in the neighbour’s bush,” reads another.
The page has over 7,800 likes – that’s equivalent to about 27 percent of the population of the Yukon’s capital.
Users can submit posts via a Google Doc, which are then posted to the page completely anonymously. The Facebook public is free to comment and weigh in with their thoughts. But what happens after you click submit?
Submissions are swept away to a spreadsheet where they’re combed through and posted by the admin.
“There’s probably around 20 a day. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It’s a full moon so there’s lots [right now]” said the Whitehorse Anonymous admin, communicating with the News through Facebook Messenger. The admin declined a phone interview, wishing to remain anonymous.
“People assume I know dirt on the town. I don’t really as there are rarely names, and I skim over that,” says the admin.
Not just anything makes it to timelines though. Posts do have to follow Facebook community guidelines. Submissions about a specific person or that contain sexual content, violence, drugs, racism, hate speech, or slander are filtered out.
“It’s pretty easy to spot posts that aren’t acceptable at first glance. They stick out like a sore thumb,” said the admin.
According to the admin, the page has been around for over a decade but it wasn’t always so PG-13. They said there used to be a team of about eight moderators running the social media site under the name Whitehorse Confessions. The admin said Whitehorse Confessions was “constantly breaking FB rules” and “some people actually feared the page.”
“Whitehorse Confessions was notorious for terrible content – basically people [were] using the page to hide behind and bash people, start rumours, or trash talk friends, family,” said the admin.
Sometime after the admin volunteered to help run the page, they decided to clean it up. They claim they kicked out the other moderators, deleted every post, and shut it down for a year before reopening it under the current name.
“I didn’t want it to be a trash-talk page and with so many people trying to run it, it was actually more work than just one person,” said the admin.
“Now you really have to make sure there isn’t any offensive content and also, I don’t want [Whitehorse Anonymous] to be like the old page at all,” added the admin.
“I don’t want this page to have connotations of being some secret rumour gossip source,” they continued. “[It’s] just an anonymous place to post things you don’t want your name or profile attached to. That doesn’t inherently mean gossipy bad stuff.”
As for why the page is so popular? The admin thinks it’s a little bit like anonymously writing to newspaper columns.
“I can’t speak for everyone, but I feel like people don’t post as much of their thoughts or feelings on social media anymore,” said the admin.
“Sometimes it’s nice to poll the audience and have a completely random response from the public,” they added.
“It’s like writing into Dear Abby and using a fake name,” they continued.
The admin said running the page is not too time consuming after years of practice. In the past, the page has been muted by Facebook for up to a month or more due to inappropriate posts though the admin said that “hasn’t happened in many years.”
Dylan MacNeil is a freelance writer based in Whitehorse.