A story that recently went viral had everyone invested because, at first glance, the suggestion of romantic potential behind it was something people thought would be so cute. 

After all, who doesn’t love seeing a trope play out in real life? And this one being the two strangers on a plane meet and sparks fly cliché had many people invested in the outcome.

Buzzfeed first reported about how a Texas based coupled live-tweeted and filmed this meeting which actually came about after the couple, Rosey Blair and Houston Hardaway asked the woman to switch seats and joked to the woman about how her next partner could be the “love of her life.”

Needless to say Rosey then documented what happened when it turned out that the new seat mates in front of them seemingly cosied up to each other and got to know each other over the duration of the plane flight.

At first glance, this is the kind of story that might have you believing in moonlight and roses – and we’re all for those kind of “meet cute” stories that lead to love, the problem here is that even if this story ends up leading to something, the moment was documented and shared without the permission of the people who were being filmed.

What quickly started out as a sweet and viral moment took a toxic turn when the names were revealed. 

Buzzfeed notes that social media has now picked up on the fact that the plane guy in the video whose name is Euan Holden has been receiving a lot of praise and interview requests, but the woman in the video, who has tried to remain anonymous, has had to delete her accounts because she’s been doxxed and harassed into leaving. 

 What’s happened here is now that the viral moment actually exposed something that is disguised as cute but in reality is beyond troubling. 

Not only did the woman in question feel that she had to leave social media in order to protect her privacy, but this moment was documented in a way that also once again shows the discrepancies between how men and women are treated.  

By the way, Rosie directly challenged her followers to find the woman by saying that they don’t have the woman’s permission yet, but said that she knows how sneaky Twitter is, so you can pretty much see how the end result of this would pan out.

The problem with social media is that it often causes people to forget that other people have boundaries.

What you share about other people may not affect you directly, but it does impact (and generally never in a good way) on the lives of those who are in the media that you’re sharing.

It also brings to light that while people don’t always have bad intentions, there’s a lack of accountability that has become a driving force behind inadvertently endorsing some terrible behaviour and forms of harassment.

What’s worse is that while we’re always outraged by cases of online violation, we’re no longer shocked by it because we’ve accepted that it’s become part of online culture. 

And unfortunately, unless we highlight these issues constantly and consistently, people are going to continue thinking that it’s okay.

Here’s a roundup of an unfortunate list of awful behaviour people engage in because social media networks have made it so easy: 

Abuse and harassment

This one’s a no brainer. And you don’t even have to be famous in order to be a target of the collective vitriol from certain subsections of Twitter and Facebook. 

And so often the victims of online harassment are women who have to endure everything from being cussed out for their looks, for daring to voice an opinion or being trolled and gaslighted mercilessly for simply being knowledgeable about a subject. 

There are far too many stories of women who have been forced offline because the viciousness of an online verbal attack often crosses boundaries that leaves many feeling too threatened to remain online.

READ MORE:Is artificial intelligence pushing sexist roles?

Doxxing

The problem with being online is that no matter how safe you think your details have been in the past, people always find a way to get hold of your information. 

Facebook’s recent data scandal has only served to cement that. 

Doxxing though, has an added level of maliciousness in that the intent behind revealing people’s private information is definitely done deliberately, thereby not only inviting harassment online but it means that offline abuse will certainly follow behind that.

No one should have to live in fear and be forced to move to a new city because their public information has deliberately been leaked.

Public shaming

This one is a very tricky one to navigate, because on the one hand I feel that people without remorse, and those who deliberately use their platform to hurl abuse, spread lies, and harass others should definitely be called out – there are some behaviours that one simply cannot excuse, and often in many of these cases, being civil has long ceased to help.

The problem is that sometimes public shaming becomes the barometer with which to dole out judgements to everyone. 

There’s no room for someone to learn from their mistakes and those who are genuinely sorry are often forced off social media for a time (or even permanently) because of the collective rage and unforgiving attitudes.

It’s possible to be angry but also to allow room for someone to learn from his/her mistakes, especially if it comes from a place where the error wasn’t intentional. 

Social media has to, when it comes to people, not think of them as part of the hive, but as individuals whose intentions and actions separate themselves from a group. 


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