Are Woodson’s ‘Exposed’ Instagram Accounts Encouraging Bullying?

Adia Elcock, Staff Writer

With social media, privacy can be challenging, especially when nearly everyone has a phone with a camera. As such, many “expose” accounts have appeared across the country. “Expose” accounts often post pictures of people slouching, sleeping, engaging in PDA, or not wearing their masks correctly, with the purpose of “exposing” these people to their classmates. 

While some people find these accounts funny, others find them insulting and invasive. However, many people submit pictures of their friends to these accounts, and their friends get a good laugh. Therefore, the problems with “expose” accounts are not related to bullying, but instead are related to privacy. “Expose” accounts can be good fun, if the person being posted consents to being posted.

The PDA creeper account. Photo by Vy Nguyen.

Accounts like wtwhunch2, woodsonpda, wtw_sleeper_creepers, and wtw_get_off_yo_phone, are filled with pictures of students, mainly taken without their consent, with humorous captions such as “caught another one” or “lots of action in g hall.” However, this was not always the case.

When these accounts were first created, both the poster and the postee found amusement in it. Many people would repost pictures of them on the account, claiming that they were a “celebrity” or were “caught at a bad moment.” These posts imply that the people being posted were either aware that they would be posted, or found the posts funny. But as time went on, “creeper” accounts went from friendly banter to public humiliation. 

Students started taking photos of random classmates and sending these photos out to be posted without the consent of the subject of the photo. Sometimes the student in the photo does not know they are on the account until they are told by a friend, but by then, students have already liked and commented on the post, leaving the subject of the photo humiliated. This phenomenon has caused many students unnecessary stress and anxiety, leading them to be extremely vigilant in how they carry themselves. 

While Woodson “expose” accounts are now used to humiliate students, at least one of them was made with good intentions. The administrator of wtwhunch2 claims the account was made to be funny, but the administrator did not provide their feelings on the current state of the account. Other accounts such as woodsonpda have been deleted, suggesting that the account was either taken down, or the administrator no longer wanted to run it. In any case, it appears that the creators of the Woodson “expose” accounts were not expecting students to take offense or be humiliated by their posts. 

To prevent people from being humiliated by “expose” accounts, privacy must be valued. Students should send photos to Woodson “expose” accounts only if the subject is 1) someone they know, and 2) the subject consented. When a photo is sent to “expose” accounts without the subject’s knowledge, and the subject is left with no idea of who could have taken the photo, the door for humiliation is wide open, and students may find themselves embarrassed and ashamed.