Alert Carolina hoax concerns students, ITS

As part of an advertising campaign for his new social media site, sophomore Taylor Robinette emailed approximately 17,000 students Tuesday under the pretense of an Alert Carolina message.

The email was promoting the social media site he helped found, called Bevii, and said police were investigating a “report of innovation” on Franklin Street. The email also claimed there were “shots fired” against “outdated social media.”

“I think that there was a little bit of negative reaction, but I think there was some positive reaction and people who thought it was fun,” Robinette said.

Robinette said Bevii set up an automatic mailing list a few months ago after they saw that the domain name “alertcarolina.com” had not been registered.

Stan Waddell, interim chief technology officer for UNC Information Technology Services, said ITS blocked both the website where the email originated and the Bevii site in order to prevent further emails.

“The real danger is that someone would see that email and not get all the context and think something really is happening,” Waddell said.

Robinette said the email addresses were collected over time from the UNC directory.

Ramon Padilla, associate vice chancellor and deputy chief information officer for ITS, said had the person responsible for the email not been associated with the University, UNC would have sought legal action.

Robinette said he contacted UNC’s Department of Public Safety to apologize for the incident. He said no disciplinary actions have been taken yet.

Junior Alex Adams said she was walking out of an exam when she received the alert, and had to read it twice before she realized it was a joke.

She said it was particularly insensitive in light of the country’s history of mass shootings.

“I understand that it’s important to get the word out about an up-and-coming business,” Adams said. “But it’s also important to realize what’s going on around us.”

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