College ACB.com is a website that allows students from over 500 colleges across the United States to post anonymous gossip, rumors, rants, and discussions about people and college-related activities, similar to the previous gossip website JuicyCampus.com. College ACB describes itself as “designed to give students a place to vent, rant, and talk to college peers in an environment free from social constraints and about subjects that might otherwise be taboo” and claims to promote “deep and thoughtful discussion” (Frank, Peter) College ACB separates itself from its predecessor JuicyCampus by allowing several user friendly features and the ability to regulate boards by reporting any posts that may come across as offensive. The website also has an adjoining blog
collegeacb.blogspot.com, which updates frequently about new features and news related to College ACB. Despite its continued success and allowance for user regulation, many see College ACB as a duplicate of JuicyCampus in that it promotes slander and gossip. Carolyn White of the Cornell Daily Sun described College ACB as being “a disease, contagious and addictive. Worse, it is self-destructive and undermines everything universities stand for” (White, Carolyn)
Despite its success, College ACB has seen its share of controversy due to its similar gossip and rumor style to its predecessor JuicyCampus. University students interviewed by Time Magazine described College ACB as “ranging from the helpful…to sex fantasies, gossiping, teasing friends,…[and] a lot of hate” (TimeMagazine Youtube)Several college students, such as Jared Sichel of Tulane University have openly stated they wish to “Ban College ACB” (Sichel, Jared)due to the harm that it can cause to students. Mark Smith, associate professor of communications at Truman University, states that “it is legal for schools to ban College ACB” (Elizabeth, Koch) Peter Frank states that his website allows students to “build a community” (Frank, Peter)and exercise their rights to free speech, but by allowing students freedom to post what they want, College ACB welcomes bashing of other students and provokes personal attacks that are often rooted in rumors.
Ryan Mueller of Truman State University states that College ACB “can cause damage to people’s reputations and [give] others a false impression” (Koch, Elizabeth)thereby harming or damaging students emotional state. Despite the controversy surrounding College ACB, Peter Frank himself is virtually free of lawsuits that would eliminate College ACB due to the Communications Decency Act of 1996 which states that “operators of Internet services are not to be construed as publishers and thus not legally liable for the words of third parties who use their services” (“Communications Decency Act,” 2010) In early 2010, Amber Pickett, a communications major at the University of Tennessee at Martin began spear heading a campaign that would remove the University from College ACB, stating that “there is a point where you can abuse your freedom of speech” (Emery, Regina)
The website was opened in the wake of JuicyCampus’s closing on June 2 , 2010 by two recent university graduate students, Andrew Mann of John Hopkins University and Aaron Larner of Wesleyan University. The site is currently run by Peter Frank, also a student of Wesleyan University who graduates in 2012. On February 1, 2010, the website reached a record with over “900,000 impressions [in one day]” (Frank, Peter)