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The Dartmouth
May 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Fizz takes hold of campus, users share mixed reactions

Many students highlight the app’s ability to inform and connect its users, but also recognize a potential need for stricter moderation of offensive comments and toxicity.

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Since its launch in June, the anonymous posting platform Fizz has “almost the entire” undergraduate population at the College using it, according to Fizz co-founder Teddy Solomon, a student from Stanford University. Students, however, continue to have mixed opinions on the app.

According to Solomon, Fizz was designed to be a form of social media in which anonymity would lend itself to student authenticity. He cited quarantine periods of the pandemic, which he spent at home in isolation, as times when seeing “everybody’s best moments” on platforms like Instagram didn’t make him feel better about himself. Other platforms like GroupMe, on which one might be a member of a 1,200-person class year group chat, do not let people “speak their mind” because their name is attached to their comments, he said.

“For our generation, much of social media leaves us feeling worse than better,” Solomon said. 

Fellow Fizz co-founder Ashton Cofer, also from Stanford, said that the app was largely built around the needs and wants of the students around them at Stanford, where he and Solomon would poll their fellow dorm members about their opinions on features of the app. 

Fizz lead ambassador Alina Chadwick ’24 said that there is “a present need” on Dartmouh’s campus for an app like Fizz. 

“I think the student body craves Fizz in the way that it is an outlet for people to talk comfortably and be authentic,” Chadwick said. “Fizz was really a place to become more unified [as a student body] and understand what was going on on campus.” 

Besides keeping up with the events on campus, Emma Cory ’26 said she also uses Fizz to bond with other students. 

“Honestly, going on Fizz does make me happier,” she said. “I like that it’s really relatable and you feel like you’re in on an inside joke because … it’s so specific to Dartmouth.” 

Chadwick said that she finds that Fizz can help students who are away from campus and thus separated from many of their friends and peers, such as those on an off-term, as she is this fall.

“Because of [Fizz], I have been able to keep up with how [my friends are] doing and the general vibe of campus, which is super cool,” she said.

Sungjoo Chun ’26 said he also finds himself on Fizz “at least once a day” to feel in touch with the popular topics and events on campus. 

“Sometimes, it’s funny and sometimes it gives useful information like what’s going on. I like going on Fizz because I like the memes and they make me laugh,” Chun said.

Beyond its high usage among students, some students said that the platform lends itself to discussing issues that are not normally covered in traditional social media. 

“There’s a lot of open dialogue [on Fizz] about mental health on campus that I’ve noticed, or about interpersonal relationships like hookup culture at Dartmouth,” Chadwick said. “There are a lot of topics that people can openly discuss and not feel ashamed [about] or that they’ll be judged because it’s anonymous.” 

Despite the open dialogue and discourse that occurs frequently on Fizz, it is not immune to the issues that its predecessor Librex had, some students report. According to Solomon and Cofer, Fizz is “heavily moderated” by student users at each school — as they best understand the culture and norms of the school and what would be considered inappropriate — and Solomon said there is a “substantial team” of moderators at Dartmouth. However, some students said that they have still experienced some of the same issues, such as toxicity and bullying on Fizz, that existed on Librex. 

“I’ve definitely seen some sexism and homophobia,” Willow Stein ’26 said. “Fizz is not moderated well. There are a lot of things that tend to be potentially harmful to both the people involved and the people viewing [the post] that just never get taken down.”

Cory agreed with Stein, adding that the platform’s anonymity can create a problematic environment for students. She said that in the lead up to the College’s Day of Caring, which was held on Friday, she observed several posts on Fizz “making fun” of the event, which she said was problematic because of ongoing issues with student mental health on campus.

“I think that anonymity pushes people to the extremes because you can say whatever you want to say and there will be no consequences,” Cory said. “I think Fizz needs stronger community guidelines — there needs to be more regulation on what people post.”

Though Chun said he believes that there is room for improvement, he added that Fizz is still useful for being involved and in touch with the events on campus, citing that “most of the time,” posts consist of memes. Stein agreed with Chun, noting that Fizz has helped her acclimate to freshman year.

“I think while there is a lot of fake news and harmful things on Fizz, it is also helpful for keeping you up to date on things that may not have come out of [the College] administration yet or just events that are happening that we as ’26s might not be as clued into as upperclassmen [are],” Stein said. 

Simultaneously, Solomon and Cofer said that they are consistently seeking student feedback to improve their app.

“[Fizz] speaks for itself,” Solomon said. “Because we built a product that the people want … we’ve seen such amazing growth on every campus. We know what our users want, and we’re always listening to them — and that’s not going to change at any point in the lifespan of this product.”

As Fizz expands — the app recently received $4.5 million from angel investors and venture capitalists, according to Solomon — to non-iOS devices and potentially graduate students, the co-founders said that they are committed to maintaining the platform’s original purpose.

“As we go forward and expand though, we still want to make sure that the app stays authentic, positive and that it truly becomes the central platform for everything social life,” Cofer said.