The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

February 23, 2013

Not all love local online ‘love confessions’

MANKATO — A trio of short-lived Twitter accounts apparently created last week by Mankato high schoolers were a way for secret admirers to send an anonymous valentine to a classmate.

But the Twitter accounts played host to lewd displays of public affection, and Twitter shut them down Friday after the school officials brought them to the social media company’s attention.

The Twitter accounts — @KatoEastLC, @KatoWestLC and @KatoLoyolaLC — may have been based on a Facebook page started under a similar premise by and for Minnesota State University students called “Kato Love Confessions.”

That Facebook page, created Monday, was still up as of early Saturday night, though it had generated complaints of its own from university staff and students. It skyrocketed in popularity, earning 6,850 “likes,” more than the city of Mankato (about 5,800) but fewer than MSU itself (about 8,300).

As of Friday, it wasn’t clear who was behind any of the pages, though Mankato Areas Schools Supt. Sheri Allen said the district was close to identifying the students behind the East and West Twitter pages. She said she couldn’t say whether any students had yet been disciplined.

Allen said the Twitter feeds were a distraction for students and staff this week and said she was grateful for the parents who called to tell the district about them.

The accounts for both Mankato East and West were shut down around 5 p.m., but the West account was back up later that night.

The Loyola account started tweeting Friday afternoon but had apparently went offline after only about 90 minutes and 50 tweets. The language was toned down — “hiney” for buttocks, that sort of thing — but the formula was the same: an anonymous compliment, sometimes naming the intended recipient.

Shelley Schultz, Loyola’s interim administrator, said a parent who thought the Twitter posts were inappropriate brought them to her attention Friday night.

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