Illegitimate "Class of 2013" groups for Canadian institutions on Facebook

June 4, 2009

A trend in "Class of 2013" groups created by users posing as real incoming students for marketing purposes, first reported in the US in December, is making its way through Canada. Matthew Melnyk, a liaison officer at Brock University, recently came across a group on Facebook called "Grads of 2009 (Canada)" linking to 16 other groups targeting applicants to Canadian universities. In her investigation of these groups, Melissa Cheater found that several had the same administrators or used the same language. A Ryerson University 2013 group even encouraged members to spam other Ryerson 2013 groups for the chance to be promoted to administrator status. Melissa Cheater's blog | Matthew Melnyk's blog

Postscript: Jun 17, 2009
This week, the Globe and Mail and "Margin Notes," a blog on University Affairs' website, cover the trend of illegitimate "Class of 2013" groups popping up in Facebook we mentioned earlier this month. Globe and Mail | Margin Notes

Postscript: Jul 2, 2009
Further to his investigation into fraudulent "Class of 2013" groups on Facebook, Brock University liaison officer Matthew Melnyk has come across some "Class of 2014" and "Class of 2015" groups targeting future high school graduates for marketing purposes. On his blog, Matthew points to a page called "Highschool Grads of 2010: University & College Class of 2014," which urges fans to promote the page to their friends. The page includes a link to a page for "Eruption Promotions," which claims to be "your source for the craziest university parties."  The company is linked to another company called "Neesh Marketing," which is currently recruiting girls who can "light up a room." Matthew Melnyk's blog

Postscritpt: Jul 7, 2009
Monday's issue of the Toronto Star included an article on the trend of illegitimate Facebook groups targeting future PSE students we have mentioned in the Top Ten. The article mentions an incident in which a "major event promotion company" allegedly tried to bribe and blackmail an incoming Dalhousie University student in order to become administrators of his Facebook group. Toronto Star

Postscript: Nov 24, 2009
Further to his investigation into phoney "Class of 2013" groups on Facebook, Matthew Melnyk, a liaison officer at Brock University, has uncovered some "Class of 2014" groups that appear to be disingenuous. On his blog, Melnyk lists Facebook groups for a dozen Ontario institutions. The titles of the groups are similar, and the groups share the same administrators. While he cannot speak for other institutions on whether or not they feel these groups pose any significant risks for their students, Melnyk writes the people creating these groups do not have students' interests at heart, and that is problematic. Matthew Melnyk's blog