Earlier this week, Russell wrote an intriguing post on self-censorship across varied social networks and on the internet. It got me thinking…. I actually don’t censor myself on any of the social networks that I’m a part of, or on this blog for that matter. What I publish on the internet, regardless of my intended audience, is out there for everyone to see including my mother, mother-in-law, boss, ex-boyfriends, future grandchildren… you get the idea. Upon further reflection, my only act of censorship would be untagging pictures of myself on Facebook where I look fat. But is that censorship or just a matter of pride in myself?
However, no matter how much you censor yourself on the internet, there will always be others that can post unflattering information about you. You have limited control over what information your friends and contacts put on their pages for the world to see.
Here’s a real life example. About a month ago, I received an email from Facebook alerting me that my mother had tagged me in several photos. Naturally, I logged on to see if I resembled a whale in these pictures. What I found astonished me. She had posted pictures of my family and I water skiing at the lake, in which I am wearing a BATHING SUIT with NO MAKEUP. Did I mention that me and my thighs were being dragged behind a boat? This should be a felony.
I immediately untagged myself and called her to demand they be taken down. However, she didn’t answer. I later found out this was because she was in the middle of a mani-pedi. I spent 20 minutes frantically trying to hack into her account but was unsuccessful. I suffered in agony for over two hours knowing that these incriminating fat pictures were posted for my mother-in-law, boss and ex-boyfriends to see. She finally returned my call and removed the fugly pictures of me. She thought they were “cute”.
My point is, you can’t always get in touch with the person (in my case, my mother) who posted unflattering content about you and get the information removed from the web. Even if you take every precautionary measure including privacy settings and unlinking yourself from the negative content, there are loop holes. Ever heard of Google Cache? There’s always a way for this information to leak onto the screens of precisely those who should not be seeing it.
So, how can one avoid sketchy content being posted about them? It’s simple. Don’t be sketchy in real life and sketchy content won’t land on the internet. In my case, I’ll be dropping 5 pounds before this summer rolls around and ensuring that I’m wearing eye liner and mascara at all times. Particularly when my mother appears on the dock, camera in hand, saying, “Y’all get together. Y’all look so cute!”
Facebook contained a bug that allowed blocked users to find private photos and wall posts. That’s more evidence that sketchy content can be found!