“No Evidence” of Bedbug Infestation in Webster Library: Concordia
Post on Satirical Blog Turns into Sooocial Media Fiasco
Concordia University has denied that the Webster Library downtown is infested with bedbugs, after a photo of an insect was posted to the “Spotted: Concordia University” Facebook page Monday, provoking an outcry on social media.
The photo shows an insect next to a notebook, with the caption, “is it me or anyone else has found bed bugs in library. It’s not the first time, I f***ing hate bed bugs.”
According to Concordia spokesperson Chris Mota, “there is no evidence that there is any infestation of any kind.”
The public reassurance comes after the allegations were brought up in the “/r/Concordia” subsection of the forum website Reddit by user “t-rexarms.”
The post was met with multiple testimonials of bedbug infestations from library books.
The website Sooo MTL, a parody of the popular MTL Blog, picked up on the story, adding to the rumour mill.
The article on the satirical blog cited the Reddit post, saying “we’ve heard it through the grapevine that apparently the entire campus of Concordia University is infested with bedbugs, possibly due to filthy nerds studying in the library.”
“Concordia has confirmed through their Reddit account that bed bugs are everywhere, in a big way,” the satirical post said, referencing a comment made by the Concordia Student Union’s Housing and Off-Campus Job Centre (HOJO) informing Concordia students they could help them if their apartment was infested.
CSU VP Student Life Charles Bourassa told The Link he doubted the authenticity of the Reddit testimonials after he saw that the three main posters had only had an account for one day, and had made no other posts.
“Two of them had similar usernames, in terms of cats, so it looks like it was orchestrated on Reddit to create hype,” he said in reference to Reddit users “thecatsmeow42069” and “catchow,” both of whom had made only one post.
The story gained still more traction when MTL Blog, a website known for so-called “listicles” and sponsored content, garnered 8,175 views with the headline, “Montreal’s Concordia University’s Downtown Library Is Allegedly Infested With Bed Bugs.”
Sooo MTL highlighted their earlier coverage of the story.
“It was crazy to see how fast it spread, it was like a wildfire,” Bourassa said of the reaction on social media, adding that he had received numerous messages from concerned students throughout the day.
HOJO coordinator Leanne Ashworth said she was concerned for students who were afraid to go into the library during finals period.
“Everybody needs to be in the library studying, so it’s a really bad time to be paranoid. […] It’s kind of hard to know if it’s a hoax,” she said of the possibility of false allegations.
Ashworth added that since people are staying in the library during finals late into the night, which is when the insects come out, it’s possible that “people are just noticing that there are bedbugs now.”
“It’s highly possible that it’s something students here are dealing with, whether it’s at the library or at home,” she said.
Reddit user AlkalineMTL was unimpressed from the get-go.
“It’s just JMSB students trying to scare people away from the library to get study rooms for finals.”