Anything you post can and will be used against you


Life isn’t easy when you’re an idiot on Facebook.

Take Joshua Lipton for example. I’m sure he wasn’t laughing that night when he plowed into some poor woman’s car while driving back drunk from a party. But two weeks later the scars (at least his) must have healed some, because the one thing he took from his run-in with the law (excuse the pun) was an idea for the perfect Halloween costume: A prison inmate! Hahaha! Get it?!



Unfortunately, the internet-savvy prosecution found that very picture while building their case against Josh as an irresponsible, callous, party animal with very little remorse regarding his victim who was still in hospital at the time. The judge didn’t appreciate the “humor” of the situation either, and sentenced the college Junior to Two Years Hard Time.

This latest example of when-social-networks-bite-you-in-the-ass didn’t exactly set legal precedence either. Both Jessica Binkerd and Lara Buys had unrepentant MySpace photos used against them in similar DUI cases.

And of course everyone has a friend-of-a-friend who was caught cheating via incriminating internet evidence.

Bloggers more often than not use internet anonymity as a means to convey stories and emotions that might otherwise be considered too compromising. However, mutual recognition is at the base of most social network use, so for the most part signing up incognito misses the point.

Could it be said that users should be more careful in differentiating between their “real” and “virtual” existences? Or maybe the whole point of the story is that the two are already hopelessly inseparable?

But all this just leads back to the age-old question: What’s worse – committing the crime, or not being smart enough to cover it up?

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Follow up to Digg/Reddit debate

Wow, thanks to everyone who contributed comments to the previous post. I thought I’d summarize my responses and write a follow-up rather than clutter the comments section in that post. I’d also like to thank everyone on reddit who voted this up to the FP, kept it there for a good portion of the day, and made it one of the most hotly debated posts yesterday. A big thanks goes to those that dugg the story that did indeed get popular but was removed by the censor 40 minutes later (hmmm…).

First off, to all the haters I’d like to say that contrary to appearances, I love digg. Or rather, I loved digg. It’s because I care about the site and the community that I wrote the post in the first place. Yeah, I know it’s silly to take some dumb website personally, but I can’t help it, I do. I’ve spent a lot of hours on digg, so I feel like I have a right to an opinion, and good cause to be frustrated with the way things are right now.

Case in point, the previous post we’re discussing was dugg, and hit the front page for 40 minutes, and then got removed. Not buried, removed. Poof. This kind of censorship has long been discussed, and Kevin Rose’s response has been baffling, at the very least. 

Granted, Digg.com is privately owned and managed. There is no law governing over it where it is required to “play fair”, in a manner we’d deem democratic or transparent. Basically, they don’t owe us anything. However, they were one of the first to sell themselves as an uncensored site that let its community decide what gets popular, and now it just seems like they are suffering from a serious case of talking-from-both-sides-of-their-mouth-itis. This is precisely what currently makes Reddit better. Open Source is more than just a catch phrase. It’s a commitment to transparency and equality within the community.

This, to me, seems to be of key importance to bringing about  a higher standard community news-site.

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