As a person that grew up watching telenovelas, you best believe I am a sucker for gossip.
Nothing fills me more with joy than hearing my friends’ stories, connecting the dots with the information I continue to learn and getting the big picture.
Being a writer, it is my instinct to seek out the facts and analyze events that contributed to a situation on a bigger scale. Such a situation is the popularity of anonymous confessionals.
By now, everyone has fallen prey to reading up on people’s dirty secrets in the form of confession pages and online forums.
I can not sit here and be a hypocrite. At some point, I enjoyed consuming this content too. However, it has turned into nothing short of a circus that gives people a platform to bully and harass others.
Instead, I wish to shed light on the dangers of publishing false information and being complicit in its distribution, which can lead to the ruin of your reputation if you are not careful. Everything you do on the Internet can be traceable.
According to Surfshark, the lead VPN service in the industry, anyone from your Internet service provider, hackers, search engines, the government, and the police can get your information even if it has been deleted.
That means that evidence of any wrongdoing you’ve committed can get you charged with defamation, which is any false information about a person, a business, or an organization. In this case, you would be blamed for defamatory statements published, called libel.
Even if you weren’t the individual responsible for publishing untruthful content, you can still be held liable for any user comments you post.
The Reporters Committee states that, “In 1996, Congress passed Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law that limits the extent to which Internet service providers and websites can be held liable for republishing content created by third parties.”
Section 230 says that, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
I know it sounds fairly complicated and comes in very legal terms, but it’s quite simple.
An interactive computer service consists of Internet service providers, news sites, blogs, social networking sites, and electronic newsletters.
On the other hand, an information content provider is someone who creates information provided on the Internet, like someone who posts content online or a user commenting on a publication.
With all this information in mind, for example, let’s say false information is published on a confession page on Instagram. This would make the confession page liable because they are a third party creating the defamatory content.
The same would apply to user comments, which fall under the third-party umbrella, only if they contain any sort of libel in them. Meanwhile, Instagram would be protected from any legal action under Section 230.
Long story short, being a mean bully online is probably not the best idea if you want real friends or a stable job in the future.
Business News Daily reported that 70 percent of the employers said they believe every company should screen candidates’ social media profiles during the hiring process.
Even if you’re not out there spewing lies online, you should still try to keep your digital footprint intact to the best of your ability. Your actions and decisions can have catastrophic consequences in the real world.
Currently, we have the most amount of information that we’ve ever had right in the palm of our hands. Cell phones can connect us to anything we might need, making our daily lives easier.
However, humans have yet to fully comprehend the fact that their well-being and safety are at the mercy of some database on the Internet, which is already a danger of its own.
Most importantly, the fact that people in the flesh can betray them by posting sensitive information online, possibly even hurting themselves in the process.