Sniffing out Noses: @nileswestsniffers


By Gloria Kosir and Luca Hatzopoulos

Nose out, phone out — an Instagram account with the handle @nileswestsniffers has quickly made a big splash at West, posting students around the school without their masks over their noses. The sniffers account has been the talk of the school this past week, along with the recently made “bad parking account” (@nwhsbadparking), which uploads pictures of embarrassing parking jobs in the student lots. 

The sniffers account quickly accumulated over 600 followers and hundreds of likes. A reliable source who wished to remain anonymous sent in a tip to the NWN, revealing that a group of three is behind the account. While the identities of the creators and managers are unknown, the Niles West News was able to interview them. For the simplicity of the article, the owners will be referred to as “The Sniffers.” 

The account operates through student submissions, meaning that The Sniffers don’t take every photo themselves. Rather, students from all grades, especially seniors, can capture their classmates wearing their masks incorrectly.  

“I got inspired to start this [account] to call out all of the people that don’t wear their mask correctly. It’s more in a fun way rather than in a disciplinary mean guy way,” The Sniffers said.

The Sniffers have claimed to rely on photo submissions, however they are responsible for many of the captions on the page. If the source has a caption that they would like to be included in the post, The Sniffers will use it. 

“I think it’s an innocent joke. It’s pretty funny actually. They’ve got probably a hundred posts right now of people. You know, I think things like this bring people together, simple jokes like this; people like it, people share it around. I think it is a good thing if anything,” Senior Class President Brandon Thatch said. Thatch was the second person to be featured on the account, and has since been posted twice. 

“It was funny when I got posted. The worst part about the whole thing is just being caught off guard,” senior Abbey Adams said.

Although, one of the four teachers on the account did not find it funny. Psychology teacher Scott Baum had a few things to say about the account. 

“I’m not happy about it. It makes me sad that students are using their phones for something other than educational purposes. It’s more important to do work than take pictures of teachers in classes,” Baum said. 

The Sniffers have become notorious for their fast responses and quick posts. 

“I’m a quick person and I do it during class, passing periods and study halls,” The Sniffers said. 

The Sniffers’ main goal of the account is to make others laugh and bring awareness to mask wearing. There is no intended harm in making this account, and The Sniffers have a policy that if someone is featured on the account, they can always direct message them on Instagram to take the picture down.

“Everyone needs a little bit of humor in their lives and if it helps others keep their masks on then that’s my goal of the account. If someone does ask for me to remove it [their picture] I would. It’s still people’s privacy so I respect their wishes. Someone has asked me to remove their picture before and the moment I saw the DM, the post was taken down,” The Sniffers said. 

With over 120 posts, @nileswestsniffers has featured several students and four teachers. Plenty of students see the account and find it comical to be posted. 

“I was laughing when I saw I was posted there. All good humor and all good fun, no hurt feelings. This account is good because it encourages others to put their masks up,” senior Edin Perazic said. 

“I was proud to be one of the first posts on the account. I find the whole account funny and I love it,” senior MurphyMaeve Holleran said.

The vast majority of posts have been made up of seniors, leading some to believe that a senior is behind the account. Whoever is hitting the “post” button, their actions seem to be effective in promoting correct mask-wearing around West. 

“I’m gonna staple the mask to my face,” senior Daisy Rodriguez said. 

There are other anonymous accounts that pertain to mask-wearing. An account with the handle @anti_nileswestsniffers posts “pics of good people wearing their masks,” per their Instagram bio, and operates similarly to The Sniffers, only posting the opposite content.

Before the creation of @nileswestsniffers, Niles North had their own “Sniffer.” The Instagram account @sniffersatnorth posted their first “nose” on Oct. 7, 2021. The account has existed for just over a month and has over 1,000 followers.

Since the inception of the account, The Sniffers have become bolder and bolder. On Friday, Nov. 12, The Sniffers promised to “go live” on Instagram once they hit the 500-follower mark, teasing a face-reveal for their followers. Despite saying so, The Sniffers’ identities remain anonymous. Later in the afternoon on Monday, Nov. 15, The Sniffers answered an Instagram call from a group of senior girls.

“They answered our calls but wouldn’t speak into the mic. One time they sent us a picture of their reflection in the lunchroom glass window, but we couldn’t figure out exactly who it was, even after Bianca Gabriel lowered the exposure and editing the picture,” senior Ejona Basha said. “We think it’s a girl.”

The Sniffers posted two pictures to their story at approximately 2:30 p.m. and another at 2:38 p.m. The first picture was a picture of the Adventure Ed. equipment on the inside of the wrestling gym with the words “hide and seek” typed across the screen. The second picture was of two girls’ shoes, walking in the hallways of West. This picture was titled “guess who.” 2:38 p.m. is during the passing period between eighth and ninth, but Instagram does not tell viewers whether a picture posted to a story was taken at that time or not.