Journal of Information & Privacy Law

Will You Be The Next Social Media Meme?

By Sharifa Heath on Thursday, October 27th, 2016
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Will you be the next social media meme? One does not often think about this as they go about their day. Social Media has become the new norm for individuals to share their day to day experiences with the world. The various social media apps have allowed its users to upload pictures, stories, captions and the likes. However, with the increase of individuals sharing, there is also an increase in the legal repercussions they face. Whether it be a student who is reprimanded in school for a post that offends a group of people, or a teenager who is arrested for posting illegal activity to his or her social media. The reality is that there is a need to post to social media the intimate details of life.

For instance, Dani Mathers, a playboy model posted to snapchat the body image of a fellow gym goer. The backlash that she received from online viewers received much attention. The fact that she posted this to her personal social media outlet and then received negative feedback illustrates the importance that social media plays in today’s culture. Did she have a right to post to her social media her intimate thoughts? Did she violate the privacy rights of the woman that she posted?

The more important issue is that there is a woman that did not consent to having her body image posted to social media. This image is now circulating. This is a two-fold issue. How much privacy does one have when they post to social media? Secondly, when these posts concern other individuals, how does the right to privacy affect them? There is no secret that memes are regularly created through the day to day interactions of the members of society. The laws concerning the rights of individuals posted to social media are not mentioned much.

Once something is posted to social media, whether it be facebook, Instagram, twitter, or snapchat, it is out there for the world to see. Snapchat in particular has users under the belief that their posts will be deleted after twenty four hours. However, there are posts that are circulated from users to help reprimand an employee who posts about a customer, or a student who posts inappropriate posts regarding specific groups. It only makes one think how this affects the privacy issues of each user. Can users believe that their privacy rights are protected when using the various social media outlets?

The real issue is when is it safe to breach the privacy rights of those who use social media? Is there a safeguard when it concerns crime fighting efforts? Or are the recent efforts of sharing what a specific user believes to be offensive an evasive technique that will lead to further issues in the content posted by users? There is a fine line that is being approached here. Once the door is opened for using social media to gather information will there ever be policies implemented that protect these individuals? The increase in the use of social media can only lead one to believe that this is just the start of a domino effect.

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