YORFESS MESS

Yorfess publishes far-right conspiracy theory

Yorfess, the popular online confessions page for York students, published submissions which contain allusions to a far-right conspiracy theory.

The page, not affiliated with similar page Yorfess III, posted a submission which criticised the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and implied that these terms actually represent confirmation of the “2066 Minority” theory which suggests that white Britons will be a minority in the UK by 2066. The post has now been deleted.

This theory is one that also is espoused by white nationalist group “The Hundred Handers”, who Vision showed to be active in York in November. The group are on a watchlist produced by counter-terrorism police earlier this year.

When contacted for comment, the Yorfess page responsible told us that despite the admin responsible being, in their own words, “politically well-read” that the publishing was an “honest mistake” based on the fact that no admins were aware of the 2066 Minority theory beforehand.

Bizarrely, Yorfess then implied that York Vision‘s speed in picking up on this mistake was “suspicious” and implying that the post had been made by York Vision in order to tarnish the reputation of the page. A claim that is false, without any base, and still draws into question the decision to publish the submission.

This is not the first time that this page has published submissions with questionable sentiments as amidst the coronavirus outbreak in York, York Vision reported that the page had published posts which suggested that Chinese students at York were a “swarm” and that these students shouldn’t be allowed to return to York.

Before it was deleted, the post saw backlash after commenters pointed out similarities between the rhetoric of the post and the rhetoric of some in 1930s Germany.

The subject of anonymous confessions pages at UK universities is not York-specific. Exeter’s iteration “Exehonestly” was shut down after student newspaper Exepose ran a piece on the page’s repeated use of anti-Semitic and Nazi propaganda which was then passed on to the police.

This post is likely to renew calls for this and other Yorfess page to be shut down or admins to reveal themselves so they can be held accountable for the submissions that are allowed.

After her reelection as York Sport President, Maddi Cannell used a weekly newsletter to also reveal that she had faced abuse on anonymous Facebook pages and calling on YUSU members and York students to be kinder online.

Yorfess pages were hot-button issues in the recent YUSU Elections when two unsuccessful candidates, Jade Brewer and Hugh Campkin, revealed themselves to be admins of Yorfess III. This issue is now likely to inform discourse around hate speech and anonymity at UK universities.

The University of York and YUSU have been contacted for comment.

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