Ella Dawson über eine der creepiest Viral-Storys 2018: We are all public figures now.
Gibts auch als Sort-Of-Kurzversion in diesem Twitter-Thread: „This is being shared around like it’s cute, but in reality it’s the kind of invasive nightmare that makes you want to become a hermit.“
The woman on the plane is unaware that the woman sitting in the row behind her is watching and recording her every move. Rosey Blair, the stranger she helped sit beside her boyfriend, is projecting a story on top of her interactions that soon takes the internet by storm. Her detailed breakdown of their conversation and body language racks up hundreds of thousands of likes and retweets. Blair herself begins to accumulate thousands of new Twitter followers.
Not long after the plane touches down in Texas, the hordes of strangers following Blair’s tweets are eager to discover the identities of the personal trainers from Dallas. A hunt begins to find her Instagram account. Later the man, her seatmate Euan Holden, participates in the growing media circus because he also gains a ton of twitter followers, or because it helps his career, or because it’s fun, or because it’s just too late to go back to the anonymity of before. […]
the media industry wants to broaden our definition of the public so that it will be fair game for discussion and content creation, meaning they can create more articles and videos, meaning they can sell more ads. The tech industry wants everything to be public because coding for privacy is difficult, and because our data, if public, is something they can sell. Our policy makers have failed to define what’s public in this digital age because, well, they don’t understand it and wouldn’t know where to begin. And also, because lobbyists don’t want them to.
I think a lot about us, the normal ones, the average citizens. The idea that our privacy is in jeopardy is a relatively new concept, born from the 2016 election and the Cambridge Analytica scandal. There’s growing awareness of just how much of our private lives we’ve ceded to Facebook. But even now, most of us feel safe online, because what do we have to hide? Who would care what we have to say? Who is watching us? What’s the worst that could happen? […]
A woman boarded a plane in New York and stepped off that plane in Dallas. She chatted with a stranger, showed him some family photos, brushed his elbow with her own. She wore a baseball cap over her face and followed him back on Instagram. At no point did she agree to participate in the story Rosey Blair was telling. After the fact, when the hunt began and the woman took no part in encouraging it the way Holden did, Blair tweeted a video in which she drawled, “We don’t have the gal’s permish yet, not yet y’all, but I’m sure you guys are sneaky, you guys might…”
Blair’s followers were sneaky. They did as they were told and immediately replied with screenshots of the woman’s Instagram account. They shared links.
When people called Blair out for this blatant invasion of privacy, she blocked them. Because she, apparently, could control her own boundaries. Later she tweeted about wanting a job at BuzzFeed.
I don’t know what the woman on the plane is thinking or feeling. I don’t know if she’s afraid or angry or mildly amused but inconvenienced. But I know how it feels to see strangers scrawling obscenities in a space you once considered safe, commenting alongside your friends and family members. I know the sour humiliation of knowing everyone in your life can see that strangers have written about you—your parents, your coworkers, your exes.
Even when the attention is positive, it is overwhelming and frightening. Your mind reels at the possibility of what they could find: your address, if your voting records are logged online; your cellphone number, if you accidentally included it on a form somewhere; your unflattering selfies at the beginning of your Facebook photo archive. There are hundreds of Facebook friend requests, press requests from journalists in your Instagram inbox, even people contacting your employer when they can’t reach you directly. This story you didn’t choose becomes the main story of your life. It replaces who you really are as the narrative someone else has written is tattooed onto your skin.
There is no opting-in, no consent form, no opportunity to take it all back. It feels like you are drowning as everyone on the beach applauds your swimming prowess. You are relevant, and that is the best thing you can be in this new world. What do you have to complain about? Why wouldn’t you want this?
What Blair did and continues to do as she stokes the flames of this story despite knowing this woman wants no part of it goes beyond intrusive. It is selfish, disrespectful harassment. The violation of this woman’s privacy is less important than Blair’s growing platform and ambition. It is not a romantic comedy for the digital age, it is an act of dehumanization. It is a taking of someone else’s identity and privacy for your own purposes. That this is happening online makes it more, not less serious—its impact is instant, and anyone can join in the fun.