Respect people’s privacy
By Jessica Berget, Opinions Editor
It may be funny to some but posting photos of strangers on the Internet without their permission, whether it be to mock, ogle, or shame them, is an awful thing to do. Besides the obvious reasons that it’s creepy and rude, it’s also an extreme invasion of privacy and it has the potential to put people in danger. Unless someone is deliberately seeking attention or committing a crime, posting pictures of unsuspecting citizens is unacceptable.
My first issue with people posting these pictures is that it’s done mainly to make fun of strangers—people who are trying to pick up groceries, taking public transportation, or who are just out in public. Although many people don’t care about how they’re dressed or what they look like when they’re out running errands, that’s no excuse to post and shame them on social media. Not showing their faces can alleviate the harm a little, but even then, it’s still an invasion of their privacy.
Websites like peopleofwalmart.com thrive on images of people like this, and many accounts like @shehashadit on Instagram use social media to post about strangers doing awkward things. Maybe this kind of thing was funny back in high school, but it’s time to grow up and realize how awful this is. I don’t see a huge problem with sending funny pics of strangers to some close friends, but I draw the line when the image is made public.
The last thing anyone wants when they’re going to the supermarket late at night is someone snapping a photo of their messy hair and haphazard outfit to make fun of them, much less posting it on the web for everyone to see. Odds are you have been that person who just needed to pick up milk at the store before it closed and dressed in the first thing you found on your bedroom floor, so it’s not hard to imagine how angry you would be if you found an image of yourself in that state on the Internet.
What may be worse is the people who post photos not to mock, but to ogle attractive strangers. It’s one thing to be sexualized when you’re out in a public area, but to have your picture immortalized on the Internet for random people to gawk at is a whole other creepy can of worms.
You never know what these people are going through when you post photos of them in public. Some may be in protection programs or getting out of toxic relationships. By making pictures of them public you could also be making their location public, which might be dangerous to them.
It may be funny to you in the moment but think about how you would feel if you found an unflattering picture of yourself floating around on the Internet. You probably wouldn’t like it, so don’t do it to other people.