Australian Schools Deal With Facemash-Type Pages

High school students in Australia have become the latest to try to embrace the roots of Facebook, only to run afoul of authorities.

High school students in Australia have become the latest to attempt to embrace the roots of Facebook, only to run afoul of authorities.

The Brisbane Times reported that Browns Plains State High School in Brisbane became the latest school where students created “root rater” Facebook pages, which publicly rate other students’ sexual prowess.

For those who haven’t seen The Social Network, Facebook founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg’s predecessor to Facebook was Facemash, which complied pictures of Harvard University students and encouraged users to choose which of the two displayed simultaneously was more attractive.

The root rater sites allow students to post a score of one through ten for the sexual performance of other students, as well as enabling explicit comments and links to the subjects’ Facebook pages. The Times added that similar sites have been reported by other papers in the country, in Warwick, Mackay, Toowoomba, and the Fraser Coast.

Education Queensland assistant information and technologies director-general David O’Hagan told the Brisbane newspaper:

(The department) has taken immediate action to contact Web administrators and request that various forms of these sites, including those on Facebook, be removed. In certain cases, the department has also contacted police.

Schools do work closely with their communities to educate students and parents about appropriate use of social networking sites and cyber-safety.

And the Queensland Police Service issued a statement saying:

Once a complaint is made, the QPS will work to identify if any offense has been committed, and if it has, will work to identify offenders and take appropriate action.

This phenomenon echoes similar incidents that have occurred among U.S. high school students on Facebook — younger than Zuckerberg was when he created Facemash his sophomore year in college.

Readers, why do you suppose that Facemash-wannabes keep cropping up among high schoolers’ Facebook pages?