Instagram Account “CRLS Secrets” Spreads Rumors, Violence, and Pain

In+March%2C+a+series+of+Instagram+accounts+popped+up%2C+launching+rumors+and+attacks+at+Rindge+students.+

Bridget Allan

In March, a series of Instagram accounts popped up, launching rumors and attacks at Rindge students.

Alma Barak and Ryan Sutthoff-Pena

Rumors are nothing new, especially in high school. The teenage years have always been a medley of hormones, drama, and gossip. The novelty, however, comes with social media.

While anonymous social media posts can make victims seem distant, online action can have real-life effects. Just last month, a fight broke out between two Rindge students on Wednesday, March 15th as the result of a series of Instagram posts. The instigating posts were first published on the @crls_secrets account, otherwise named “CRLS Secrets 2.0,” which is now facing a police investigation. The gossip has since spread further and has reached other accounts in the aftermath. “It affects all of us,” Ella Flannery ’25 said to the Register Forum

Nearly 95% of 139 CRLS students surveyed by the Register Forum have heard of the various “CRLS secrets” Instagram accounts. When the original account, @crlssecrets, was created, it accumulated 100 followers within four hours, working its way up to an eventual follower base of 600, more than a third of the CRLS student population of 1,847.

“It can be dangerous because rumors aren’t always true,” David Poulain ’26 told the Register Forum. “People can get really hurt from that, especially if they wanted to keep the secret between two or three people, or a small group of friends. And then, suddenly, the whole school knows about it.”

While anonymous social media posts can make victims seem distant, online action can have real-life effects. .

While more than 90% of CRLS students surveyed stated that the accounts were at least somewhat harmful, @crlssecrets’ owners demurred when asked the same question. “All this account does is amplify the community’s voices,” they said to the Register Forum. “The hate of anything being posted is simply a manifestation of the hate so prevalent in this school.” 

The “community’s voices,” as posted on @crlssecrets, often include sensitive topics. The account is known to share sexually explicit posts and comments about other students’ relationships and activities, and most of all, mentions of the fight.

Almost 80% of 139 respondents to a Register Forum survey believe that having in-school conversations about the repercussions that posts like these can have is important. Finn Graham ’26 is one of these students. “We’ve had no real conversations about the impact that the accounts have,” he said to the Register Forum. “We need to give a space for people to share their concerns and talk about being afraid at school because that’s not something that anybody should feel.”

Other students have found different ways to combat anonymous rumor-spreading accounts. In the height of these drama accounts’ popularity, alternative accounts spreading love and positivity have sprouted up as well.

@crls.compliments is one of these accounts, created as a response to @crlssecrets. The account owners told the Register Forum, “We try to encourage people to compliment each other because it just feels good. Obviously, we’re not getting as many compliments as the ‘tea’ accounts have gotten gossip and drama, but we’re still trying to make a change.”

This article also appears in our April 2023 print edition.