The Wessex Blog recently reported on the social networking website Fitfinder, which allowed UK students to locate “fitties” in University libraries, but yesterday evening the site was taken offline due to pressure from Universities.
The site, which reached five million hits in four weeks and was accessible to over fifty institutions, was taken offline after University authorities believed it was starting to create a distraction for students during exam time. Also, some women’s groups were unhappy about several posts on the site which were seen as offensive.
The site was created by University College London student Richard Martell, 21, who has already had talks with entrepreneurs to expand the website and has been given the maximum fine from UCL after refusing to take the site down last week . The official press release says that the site was taken down due to ‘perceived distraction to students’.
“Although we are not obliged to do so, we have taken the decision to temporarily pull FitFinder in order to carefully review the issues raised by the universities. We plan to consult with them and take on board what they have to say. We also hope they will listen to us, and their own students-who clearly love the site. Our aim is to come back with something that everyone is happy with.”
Martell has rejected claims that the site is providing an unwelcome distraction. He said “It’s flattering to think that FitFinder is perceived as a threat to study time. But are students spending any more time on FitFinder that they would on, say, Facebook or Twitter? Not a chance.”
However, this is not the first time that the site has been taken down, the first week after it’s launch in May the UK’s education and research network blocked the site from Universities. Yet, this ban only lasted 24 hours due to the high number of complaints from students. The website petition and a facebook group created to ‘Bring back Fitfinder’ which already has over 300 members may mean that it will not be long before the site is reinstated once again. The Wessex Blog will provide you with any updates.