Here's the Ugly Truth Behind Your School's Online Secret Files

Because targeting someone anonymously is never okay.
IMAGE Unsplash ART Clare Magno

As avid social media users, each of us has probably stumbled upon online Secret Files—accounts where people can anonymously submit their long rants or love confessions. Submissions are reviewed by the page's admins before being released into cyberspace, with each post holding a semblance of gossip about a specific person. Their identities are kept secret, being signed by a pseudonym and the submitter's strand/course and batch.

Several universities, like Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), De La Salle University (DLSU), University of the Philippines (UP), University of Sto. Tomas (UST), and more have their own version of Secret Files pages on Facebook. High schools like Xavier School, Immaculate Conception Academy, Miriam College, La Salle Greenhills, etc. have not only Facebook but Instagram, too—although most are defunct by now.

While some posts are innocuous shoutouts, others chronicle personal matters, publish photos taken without consent, ship people together, and even call out certain students they don't like. Recently, an incident has made a certain Secret Files page come under fire, when a male student openly insulted a female student in a series of degenerative expletives, leading to the victim retaliating with her friends online as well. Stallion, the official student publication of Xavier School, took notice of this and these pages.

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"Although initially the ICA-XS Secret Files was meant for entertainment purposes, it slowly degenerated into a cesspool of cyber bullying. Due to the fact that forms of cyber bullying were enacted by them, the site in which people would discuss their so-called 'OTPs' turned into a hate forum for certain individuals," John Young, Features Editor of Stallion, said. "In the end, it seems better for the pages to be shut down, rather than allowing them to continue like this, as being under a guise of anonymity leads to a general abuse of freedom of speech, which in turn has a negative outcome on the general well-being of others."


It's easy to fail at realizing what a huge problem this is. For one thing, people by nature love to gossip. To see some anonymous online drama and reading its juicy details probably adds some spice to our mundane everyday lives. It's understandable why we find entertainment in reading about X's crush on blank or Y's blatant hatred for blank. However, failing to see the issue is where the trouble lies.

It's understandable why we find entertainment in reading about X's crush on blank or Y's blatant hatred for blank. However, failing to see the issue is where the trouble lies.

See, these so-called Secret Files may seem like innocent and harmless outlets at first, maybe even a place where someone can vent or express their emotions while amusing others. But we are forgetting that in this digital age, everything is permanent. Whatever gets posted on those pages will end up haunting us forever.


First, Secret Files allows people to target others. While only the initials of the person of topic are revealed usually, there are occasions when the full name is included in the post. Whoever is called out will probably attract a lot of attention—and not in a good way. Sometimes, even photos are included—published without consent. Thus, Secret Files is an invasion of privacy. It's bad enough if someone announces to the world that they have a crush on you. What if that person explicitly explains why they hate you so much?


This brings us to the next problem: Secret Files leads to rumor-spreading, with false statements or personal secrets circulating online within mere seconds. Someone could get seriously hurt, regardless of whether or not they really did those things specified in the post. It's physically and psychologically harmful to the target's well-being. In short, Secret Files can be cause for libel.

Secret Files also ruins people's relationships. Imagine being paired up or shipped with one of your friends, with pictures of you published without your permission. Not funny, right? What if you were accused of doing something wrong, with some misleading photos thrown into the mix? Not cool, either. Furthermore, the thrill of posting anonymously lends blind courage on the part of others. People nursing secret hurts or holding old grudges may feel like getting revenge—whether they deserve it or not. This leads us to the final problem of Secret Files: It's cyber bullying, plain and simple.


The thrill of posting anonymously lends blind courage on the part of others. People nursing secret hurts or holding old grudges may feel like getting revenge—whether they deserve it or not. 

Gone are the days when cyber bullying was merely rude comments or chats with one of your Facebook friends. Now, you can't just report or block whoever violates netiquette. Sure, you can try having certain posts taken down—but by that time, it'll be too late. Everyone would have already seen it. The damage would be done. Actions like these are detrimental to the well-being of others. While some seem like they can just brush it off, remember that you never know who's actually struggling or hurting on the inside.


While Secret Files can be indeed successful in disseminating important information at times, for the most part, they're also harmful, dishonest, and invasive. The guise of anonymity makes people abuse their freedom of speech and do things that they usually won't do—and that certainly spells trouble for the general well-being and mental health of others. It's best to report these outlets that promote hurtful behavior by shutting them down for our own good before more people become victims of its toxic cycle of hatred and cyber bullying.









About the author
Caitlin Anne Young

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Kathreece Quizon 9 hours ago

Today, I am sharing my mother's story. I wish my mother was a constant in my life, like an angel who guards you to sleep and comes right there when you called. But angels come back home too, in heaven where they always belonged, and my mother went back a little early. My mother died when I was 13 years old. My last memory of my mother: Letting go when you are not yet ready is a very cruel thing that one has to ever experience. It is a sudden wave of total sadness and desperation crashing into your very core.

On the 28th of July 2013, we went to a resort in Bataan for the employees’ getaway. My parents own a 7-11 franchise, and it had always been a tradition to give their store clerks a get-together every year. I remember very well the last breakfast I had with my mother. The Sunday morning sky was clear and sunny, and the sea was calm and tranquil as we ate our breakfast on a cottage under the tall palm trees. She shared with us a strange dream she had the other night. She dreamt about an unknown woman holding an ice pick chasing her down on a dimly lit street, then she woke up just before the woman could grab her arm. We never knew what that dream exactly meant and now, I wished I never knew its meaning. After breakfast, my family and our employees decided to take a swim at the beach. The day was nice. The morning air may be chilly but the sun’s kiss on our skins gave us warmth. It was perfect. Everything is fine and the tides are low which made it very enjoyable to swim. We swam a little farther from the shore and we stopped to the point where the water reached our shoulders. We were talking about the good things in life and reminiscing the good old days. Those are the things that I’ve always loved about my family because I never had a meaningless conversation with them.

A few moments later, we heard a panicking call for help from one of our store clerks. It was Rachel. She was struggling to keep her head above water. She was already drowning but the odd thing was, she was only a few feet away from us. At first, we thought she was just playing around until we felt the sand in our toes dissolving like powder. It felt like as if the seafloor submerged deeper. I remembered sighting the shore and it seemed so close yet very far away. We were all panicking at that time. No one knew how to swim except my mother so without having second thoughts she swam towards Rachel and called out to my father, “Yung mga anak mo! Dalhin mo sa pampang yung mga anak mo!” and I never thought I already heard my mother’s last words to my father. I was paddling like a dog, gasping for air, as I say a little prayer to God to take us all back to safety. I felt my father grabbing our swimsuits, trying to lift our bodies so we can breathe even though he was also struggling to keep himself alive. Once I felt my toes touch the ground, there came a veil of relief that covered my whole body. As soon as my father and my sister made it to the shore we started calling out for help. There were no lifeguards on duty at that time, no personnel, nor guards. I saw my mother already floating in her stomach. We sighted a boat sailing nearby, we waved our hands and called for their attention. They almost ignored us because they cannot comprehend what we were trying to relay but the good thing was a passenger in the boat noticed my mother and Rachel in the water.

My mother’s body was laid on the shore. She was unconscious and her whole body was pale as white. My father performed CPR but my mother couldn’t get the water come out of her mouth because the food she ate earlier got stuck in her throat and blocked the passage. A concerned tourist offered his car to deliver my mom in a nearby health center or a clinic of some sort since the hospital was miles away from the beach and she needs immediate care. My father told us to stay in the hotel room and prepare mom’s belongings so that if she wakes up she has fresh clothes to change into. My sister and I finished packing our things and waited for our father to pick us up from the hotel. I was crying and I couldn’t stop myself because I was afraid to lose my mother. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be if I lose her that day. Moments lasted until we heard a knock on the door and it was my father, crying, and apologizing to us. He hugged me and my sister tightly and saying, “Sorry, anak, sorry hindi na uuwi si mommy, sorry hindi ko nasagip si mommy”. And that was the moment I felt sinking into the ground. I never knew what to feel at first. I was numb because my worries were now actually a reality that I have to live in. I was at shock because I am now one of the kids in those cliche teleseryes who lost a mother at an early age. We went to the health center to settle everything. The clinic was very small and it sure did lack equipment. He told us to stay in the car. I wanted to see my mom, but I know he never wanted us to see her like that. I didn’t know what to feel. I was having high anxiety levels that my stomach is churning and I wanted to vomit. I got off the car and entered the health center to find the restroom. When I was finding my way around, I passed by the emergency room. I saw my mother lying in a foldable bed, lifeless, her hands dangling from the side of the bed, she has violet bruises on her skin, and her body was partially covered with a white towel.

That is when it sunk into me that she’s dead and never coming back. My father asked the others to just commute back to Manila because what we need right now is comfort from our family. The drive back home was one of the most painful memory I had as a kid. My father was in the steering wheel crying his eyes out. We drove from Bataan to Pampanga. We went home to my grandmother’s house, the nearest house that we can call “home” because how are we still going to be “home” without her?

Once we reached Pampanga, we stopped over to the gas station and my father made some calls to our loved ones to tell them that my mother passed away. He then called my aunt to help him arrange for the funeral. We got home and my grandmother hugged us and told us to get some rest. Already tired of crying, I went to sleep for a while. I woke up and for a second, I thought everything that happened the other day was all just a dream. That she was there in Manila, sitting on the couch reading some furniture magazine, waiting for us to go home. But that’s how cruel life is, right? I got up and weirdly, I felt sands in the bed. It was gray, just like the ones on the beach. I thought maybe it was just dirt but it was a fair amount to believe that maybe she visited us before she left. - ?

- The part of how I conquered the grief of her passing is shared in my personal blog. I felt the need to share my story with everyone since she's the woman I look up to. Feel free to visit my personal blog too when you have the time. I love writing my stories. Thank You! link: http://qkathreece.wixsite.com/kathreecequizon/post/breaking-waves

Ry Fabella 9 hours ago

Hello! Sharing my first story in Wattpad!

TITLE: Whisper to the Stars AUTHOR: https://www.wattpad.com/user/withniji

GENRE: Teen Fiction/Romance STORY LINK: https://my.w.tt/Y3HeLPe9K7

Description: Ingrid Gianna "Gigi", a breadwinner of her family, has kept her feelings hidden for Hayme, her long time high school crush, because she has too much responsibilities in life; believing that she has no time for love. But, no matter how hard she tries to suppressed it for years, fate always finds its way....like it was already written in the stars.


College is a Matter of Survival. It is more on trusting and relying on YOURSELF, alone. College is not a race, it's like a journey, a journey of hardships, circumstances, and challenges that, to some extent, will push you to give up, so you must set your goals and take risks. College is far from being a junior or senior high school, so there's no more room for easy-going attitudes.

It is better to suffer now than to regret your actions in the future. I've learned these things and continue doing it right now. College made me realize that you'll meet temporary people in your life, some of them stay, but others not, they vanish, and soon you become strangers to them. It's okay to make friends, but you must know how to set your limitations with them. Also, don't forget to think wisely, there are some whose only seasonal friends. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that you accompanied each other, and still, you have yourself. Being alone doesn't mean you avoid people coming into your life, it's just that, you know how to distance yourself from people you don't feel to get along with, and that's OKAY. The thing about college is, you'll meet different types of people who will help you to open up your mind to be more matured enough to the point that you will become more understanding rather than start an argument. There's nothing to be afraid of being alone, you just need to accept the facts and consequences.

Little by little, you will witness yourself develop from how much you've grown, and be grateful for that because you overcome those situations that trigger you to give up. I share these things with you that may be applicable to your upcoming college life and leaving this message to you. 'Don't hesitate to take risks to success, it will be paid off someday. Let God help you and do your very best.' #CollegeSurvival

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