I started to reflect on this possibility after an encounter I had online. The other day, a well respected journalist I follow online posted a picture of a women who was in a TV audience. She had her hand raised to ask a question. Due to the angle of her arm, the journalist decided to make a joke that she was giving a Nazi salute. Clearly she wasn't. Though it was joke, It was a serious one. I confronted him and pointed out that this women did not consent to have her picture posted and for such an offensive caption to be added. I mentioned to the journalist that this could invite ridicule or worse, cause her extreme distress. She could be Jewish, or her family were survivors or she may be offended that such a historically sensitive action could be attributed to her. I know if it had been me, I would have been quite upset to see a innocent photo of myself used in such an offensive manner.
The journalist was genuinely shocked and astounded at my observations. He reiterated that it was just a joke. But as I stated above, I mentioned again how this photo could be used and shared. He did not respond further but kindly removed the photo online. This isn't the first time I have come across this. I once came across a photo online of a man on a bus. He had allegedly cut in front of women to get on the bus. The women felt affronted and decided to secretly take his photo, post it to her private Facebook page and along with her friends, began to insult the man's appearance etc. This was an intentional act, but when challenged, the author of the photo stated " It is my private facebook page and I can post what I like".
So this had me thinking. Are we unintentionally engaging in trolling and cyberbullying just by sharing an image online? What are your thoughts on the following?
- Do we have a social responsibility to call out or minimize the potential for harassment when we see photos posted/shared online of strangers, friends, or celebrities that include questionable content or captions that may invite ridicule?
- Are we always aware when we share photos online that they may be used to hurt or harm another person and if not, what examples do you have where we may not be entirely aware or certain?
-If our social media platforms are set to private, does that mean we still have the right to post or share images online without the persons consent?
- Should our responsibility around consent and photos, include Meme's of real people that have questionable or outright hurtful captions?
- What are some questions we could ask ourselves before we post or share a photo online that could help us make an informed decision as to whether we should be sharing it?
Please share your thoughts or answers below!