Beware of the Internet!
She sued the high-school, stating that the university violated her First Amendment right, because she was penalized for doing something legal and which was after-hours. In 2008, a federal judge rejected her claim stating that what she did was not a problem of public concern, and as a result, her picture and post was not protected speech. Stacy might be a symbol; her case might be the starter of something which could happen very often. We live in a world in which the Internet is used daily by millions, and once something appears on it, it is almost impossible to get rid of that particular thing. A post on Twitter, a comment on Facebook, or a picture on Myspace, can have a huge importance.
Everything we post online might be used in the future against us, and that is especially true in the case of the celebrities, or of people who become famous in time. There are various websites which are collecting messages, or posts from various sites and post them. Snyder’s case is not the only one; in fact there have been many similar cases like it. For example a 16-year old girl was fired from her summer job because she said on Facebook that she was bored while she was at the job. Another shocking case involved a 66-year old psychotherapist from Canada who wanted to enter in the United States of America but he wasn’t allowed to do so. The reason?
He wrote an article about his experiments involving LSD, which was later published online. The board office patrol found the article and did not allow the doctor to enter the country, even more; he was permanently banned from entering the United States. It has been revealed that almost 80 percent of the U.S. recruiters and human-resource professionals have to perform online searches about the people which they have to interview. They look at their social networking profile, look for comments on message boards, and forums, and so on. Seventy percent of the recruiters stated that they have rejected different applicants because of their online activities.
They rejected them directly without even questioning them. The situation is extremely amusing and worrying at the same time. This is the United States of America, “the land of the free”, yet it seems that the citizens aren’t as free as they imagined. Think about the situation: you apply for a job, and maybe you are one of the best at that particular job. Five years ago you posted a picture with yourself in an embarrassing situation. You were younger, and more naïve, and on top of that the picture was taken during your free time.
The recruiter sees your picture or tour comment and because of it, he will not allow you to the interview. Even if you are the best, you don’t get that chance. How many professionals do they lose because of this mentality and approach at running their business? This takes things to the next level, because it can be considered an invasion of privacy. Most of the pictures are taken during the free time, and if you are not allowed to have fun in your free time, when can you have fun? The scenario is getting closer to 1984, by Orwell, when everyone was being watched. Remember, not to say something bad on a message board because the “Big Brother” might see what you wrote. Facebook has 500 million members, and it has become the largest social network website in the world. 22 percent of the people, who use the internet, have an account on Facebook. More than 500 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each month, and more than 25 billion pieces of content are shared each month. The content includes comments, blogs, photos, and so on.
More than 100 million people have a Twitter account, and it has been announced that all the Twitter posts since 2006 will be stored. This means that what you said four years ago, maybe in a joke, or in a similar instance, can and will be used you in a court of law. It sounds like a joke, but this isn’t a laughing matter. It is quite sad actually. The problem is that because of this new phenomenon, the people can be judged just like the celebrities. A woman declared that she was afraid of being tagged in a picture because people might notice that she wears only two outfits when she goes out.
It is a problem if the people are afraid of the fact that the Internet might be used against them. The story of the sex-tapes is familiar. Couples might record their session of intimacy and one of them might post it online. In most of the cases, the lives of the ones included in the tape are affected by it. This example is different though because they know the risks when they do such a thing. For some “washed-up” celebrities the situation is different. Some of them see this as a manner of becoming famous again, or of getting themselves noticed since their 15 minutes of fame have expired.
Anyway, it is terrifying to know that what you say online might haunt you for the rest of your life. It shouldn’t be like this, but unfortunately, it is. It will be impossible to escape from this, especially if all the websites will record all their data in the future. Google announced that they will do the same in the future.11