With Facebook becoming a much less private social networking website, information about any member is being more accessible. With it’s ability to share information and media easily, it has also become one of the most popular viral/grapevine tools to keep up-to-date with the latest events happening across the globe. However, with all the good it can do, it can also have the potential to do bad. This weekend I had to chance to see one of these bad events take place from the very start in its rawest form.
The incident started when two boys from a high school in Trinidad and Tobago video recorded themselves engaging in oral sexual activity in the boys’ bathroom. The video somehow made its way into the hands of other individuals. The social buzz within the high school network suddenly sparked, causing a few individuals to form a group called “Na F.A.T.I.M.A. Yuh Cyah Be On That” around 8:30PM on Saturday night (25th April), basically meaning that the group creators couldn’t believe what was taking place at the high school. We were unable to see who created the group though. Just one hour later, group members Kirwin Jabonne uploaded a video and Kelly Splinks uploaded an album clearly displaying the sexual activities.
Unfortunately, the face of one of the boys was clearly displayed on multiple occasions in the video and photos. Other group members were quickly able to figure out who it was and even posted his name and what year he was in.
The group sky-rocketed to just over two-thousand members after three hours. Initially a number of group members expressed discontent and discredited the school and boys. However, some fans came out against the group for uploading the material and creating the group in the first place. Many reported the group to Facebook (hopefully it is deleted soon). On Sunday night, there were rumors that one of the boys had killed himself, but this has yet to be confirmed by any official source.
So the final outcome of this situation? With the face of one of the boys being exposed, his school life is basically in the drain right now. I can pretty much imagine how many phone calls their residence must be getting. I personally know how being in a compromising position feels. Just a few years ago when friends uploaded a video if me being totally drunk and wasted, I felt bad with just a few people viewing it. Imagine how these guys feel with thousands viewing what they thought would be a private activity.
The lesson to be learned here? Privacy starts from the source. Documenting anything you think should be kept private basically puts you at a risk, no matter how safe you may think the storage medium is. Time and time again shows instances where personal videos were some how leaked onto the Internet allowing many others to see. With these guys being only a few years into high school, they have basically lost the rest of their teenage life. Even though there may be ways to deal with the situation, they are still liable for their actions. The group creators and media uploaders should also share some of the blame in this situation. However, it all starts at the source. With Facebook being such a popular medium, anything personal can spread like an out of control wildfire.
Some tips to protect your privacy include:
- Do not document or record anything that you wish to keep personal. No matter how insignificant or how safe you think the media may be, letting it fall into the wrong hands can bring serious repercussions (as mentioned in the case above).
- Secure your online profiles as best as possible. Remove listings from public search engines, and limit profile access so only trusted friends can see your photos, videos or personal details.
- Do not give out information or accept friend requests from strangers and be on the look out for fake profile.
- Hide your tagged photos and videos from everyone. If you were at the stripper bachelor party, you may not want your bride seeing tagged photos of you receiving a lap dance while you still sleep in bed.
Privacy isn’t limited to Facebook but to anything online. The basic rule is that once information about you goes public, you lose all rights over it (unless you plan to sue, which doesn’t fix your scarred reputation though).