The controversial South African school pupil fighting website schoolfights.co.za which hit the headlines on Radio 702 yesterday is not online this morning. Visitors are greeted by a blank page which suggests it may have been removed by the ISP rather than simply overwhelmed with traffic. The website, which launched two weeks ago, solicited videos of school ground fights, filmed by fellow pupils in South Africa.
The operator of the site remains anonymous, but still active: the Facebook page is still being updated. The creators are clearly not concerned about the controversy that they have caused, as a post was made to the social network early Friday morning.
In the post, a picture of a women holding a tissue is captioned with “Don’t like schoolfights.co.za?” In another, the unknown creator posted “LET ME PUT THINGS INTO PERSPECTIVE… IF I WANT TO TAKE FIGHT VIDEOS AND INDEX THEM FOR MY OWN ENJOYMENT, I F***ING WILL. IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH IT, TRY SHUT DOWN THE INTERNET… I DARE YOU. WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE.” The Facebook page current has over 1 100 likes.
By using Facebook, any users agrees to their Terms and Conditions, and point seven of the Safety sections, users agree to “not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.”
htxt.africa reported the page to Facebook yesterday and we’d encourage you to do the same. To do so, simply visit the page, click on the ‘gear’ icon next to Message, and click on Report Page.
One commentator asked whether the website and Facebook page is encouraging pupils to deliberately cause fights just to be featured on the site. “No they aren’t,” the group replied. “The content on the website, is already on the internet, all we did was index it. If I want to create a blog of idiots behaving like idiots, I will.”
Obviously the owners of the site don’t know what they’re talking about – there are very specific laws around the use of materials which can be used to identify minors in South Africa, and the fact videos are already on the internet is no defence. They also claimed yesterday that they would pay for submitted videos, but quickly changed the policy. “Please note that we are unable to pay for fight videos involving minors! Fights between two or more consenting adults, however, will still be considered,” they wrote.
While it appeared that the website has been taken offline by the ISP, visitors are now greeted with a short message explaining that during the downtime, you can still sign up for updates on when the site goes live again through their mailing list submission form.