In August 2007, Matt Ivester, then a recent Duke graduate, founded Juicy Campus, an entirely anonymous online message board with pages for a handful of colleges. The site quickly grew, and so did its reputation — as a hotbed for cruel gossip and name-calling, like Mean Girls without any of the irony.
If you were an undergraduate at some college in America between that time and early 2009, when the site shut down, you were likely familiar with the site and the inane, often cruel debates that ruled it. The site’s complete anonymity — you didn’t even have to log in — meant students could post completely unsubstantiated rumors with no consequences. Nearly every school’s page contained continuously updated threads on the “biggest slut on campus.” Racism and sexism were common fixtures. The cruelty was unrelenting: here, a UConn student describes a thread where posters called her “deserving of being beaten by [her] boyfriend.” And here, the story of a Yale student whose appearance in a pornographic video was posted for the whole internet to see.