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Justin Doody's "Rate BU" Web Site Angers Students

First Posted: 12/08/10 08:32 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:15 PM ET

Rate Bu

Boston University sophomore Justin Doody went meta on media when he claimed "The Social Network" as inspiration for RateBU.com,
a new site that allows users to rank female students on how attractive they are using photos uploaded from Facebook.

According to the Boston University Quad, Doody cites the film's depiction of Facemash, the site Mark Zuckerberg invented prior to Facebook, as the model for Rate BU: "Me and some friends just saw it and were like 'wow, we could make this.'"

And last Friday, they did. Doody launched the site anonymously before the weekend -- by Monday, 1,160 users had joined. In order to avoid the legal complications Zuckerberg ultimately faced, Doody designed his site to be user generated -- those participating upload Facebook photos of themselves or others, which Doody claims are in the public domain.

Whether or not the site is legal is irrelevant to the women featured on the site, some of whom spoke with the Quad. Sophomore Casey Prusher said that "it feels like someone took my information. I'm unwillingly being looked at and possibly being defamed or disparaged on a site I don't condone."

The wider BU community grew concerned when the Washington Post covered the website's growing popularity, and on Monday the BU Student Union moved to release a statement against the website, reports the Daily Free Press. BU Junior and Union Director of City Affairs James Boggie told the Press that national coverage made Union condemnation of the site an urgent matter. Although the Union does not have the power to force Rate BU to shut down, Boggie and others hope that widespread disapproval will convince Doody to terminate the site himself.

Doody, however, plans on doing something else entirely. He told the Quad that expanding the site to include other colleges is a possibility.

What do you think of Rate BU and other such sites? Should they be banned from campus? Share your reactions in the comments section.

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Filed by Danielle Wiener-Bronner  |