By Chloe Goldstein
Volume 69, Issue I
If you’re part of the huge percentage of students who have been requested by the mysterious Instagram account @ratemyrats, you’ve most likely wondered who is running this strange account. I myself was quite curious and was determined to identify who was behind all of this. If you don’t already know, the Instagram account posts pictures of rats and asks its followers to rate them. The account follows 228 people, almost all of them either current or past students of Briarcliff High School. The account identifies as a personal blog and refers to himself or herself as “the rat” when responding to direct messages. At first, I was unsure of messaging “the rat,” but for the sake of writing this article, I did. From asking questions, I couldn’t decide if “the rat” was lying about personal information or telling the truth to make me think he or she was lying.
“The rat” or “Ratticus Finch” told me 3 things. 1) This person has a class 5a. 2) “The rat” is either a junior or a senior. 3) “The rat” doesn’t wear a shirt. But this one doesn’t really help. The only problem was this person could have lunch 5a for all we know and could be in any grade. So, I figured I had to do more investigating. I also had to stop harassing “the rat,” after I was threatened to be blocked. I decided that the only way to find out who this person is, I would have to catch “the rat.” I would have to do this by messaging the account and find the person who received my message. Before this, I had to do some more investigating. I asked one more question to “the rat,” and this was during period 5b. During 5a, the account manager had been previously responding almost immediately but kept saying he or she was in class. Yet, when I messaged him or her during 5b, I received no response. This led me to believe that he or she actually has lunch 5a and likely lying about his or her grade as well.
I then decided to talk to Ms. Fishman to see what she knew about the situation. To my surprise, she was familiar with the social media account and did not approve because the name is a disgrace to classic literature. We then discussed that “the rat” was likely not a freshman. I hadn’t realized, but the freshmen have yet to read To Kill a Mockingbird, so unless this student has already read this book, it is unlikely that a 9th grader would make a pun based on a book he or she hasn’t read. Then, everything took a turn. I had two suspicions that seemed possible, but both suspicions led to nowhere. And for the safety of the students, I will keep these suspicions private. That night however, things became even more serious than I ever expected. I, along with seven other Briarcliff High School student, was put in a group chat made by @ratemyrats. So, after an entire night of being pressured by “the rat” to post on my Instagram story to follow @ratemyrats, I got some more leads. 1) The rat is not a junior. 2) I have never talked to this person. But yet again, everything felt hopeless.
I then had the idea that if I was able to track the account, I would be able to see who made it. So, with the help of senior Russell Kleiner, we were able to identify the account’s IP address, phone number, and email address. Unfortunately, the entire account and information are all random addresses and numbers from all different social media headquarters from around the country. However, we learned one thing. “The rat” is way smarter than we estimated. I am still working to uncover the mystery but sadly am still unsure. I plan to continue my search and figure out who this crazy rat is.