Everything Online is Permanent: How Your Internet History is a Public Record
Today’s Internet: The Worldwide Whiteboard With Indelible InkIn today’s digital age it’s easy to forget that every comment, like, emoji, tweet, blog, and forum post we attach our names to is written on an unerasable whiteboard with indelible ink. Everything online is permanent. Despite assurances from the popular social media sites that we can delete at any time, the internet never forgets. That frat party picture that everyone found so hilarious 15 years ago can disappear from specific sites. But the digital trail it blazed lingers on the internet permanently. Though you may not be able to see it, it’s out there and ready to be dug up, and what was funny for the carefree frat boy of yesteryear could be disastrous to the high profile executive he is today.
Everything Online is PermanentThere is no handy “undo” button to call back these digital bits of free-floating speech should we find ourselves in the regrettable state of “posting remorse.” In a blog post for the Princeton University Press Angelica Ana highlights the award-winning 2010 book Delete by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger which looks at the unprecedented phenomenon of “perfect remembering.” Mayer-Schönberger’s book analyzes the unforeseen consequences in the digital age. She observes:
Add to the indelible whiteboard a dearth of outdated information, statements which have been taken out of context, compromising photos and videos, and the ultimate free-speech nature of the internet which allows anyone in the world to chime in at any time with any comment, screenshot, or file they choose. Now consider that the indelibly inked whiteboard (with your name inscribed in bold title font at the top) is supported by technology which makes all of this data available with the click of a mouse. Today’s internet is more user-friendly than ever. And it doesn’t take an IT expert to take advantage of inexpensive cloud storage, increasingly powerful software as a service (SaaS), and easy global access. As the internet goes mobile, the worldwide whiteboard is wide open for posts from anyone with a smartphone. In Delete, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger proposes that all information should have an expiration date. A brilliant solution, but not one which is likely to function retroactively, if it ever does happen. The book has been out since 2010. But more than 8 years later the internet is still the Wild West of unregulated, undeletable information with no expiration date.
“Humiliating content on Facebook is enshrined in cyberspace for future employers to see.”
What Happens When Professional Athletes Tweet Before They ThinkBelow we’ll take a look at the consequences of some prominent blunders committed by prominent athletes when they chose to venture out into the unpredictable social media world beyond the white lines. Then we’ll look at some of the solutions you can use to take charge of your web presence and control the conversation concerning your online reputation in the digital age that never forgets. It’s a case of fighting science with science. And at Reputation Sciences™, we have the proprietary digital solutions to offer control of the undeletable whiteboard of the internet. But for now, consider these cases of prominent individuals who should have thought twice before hitting the “send” button.
10-12 Million NFL Draft Dollars Up in SmokeIn 2016 Ole Miss football player Laremy Tunsil had high hopes for himself in the NFL draft for that year. The top-ranked tackle was expected to begin an illustrious NFL career from the number 1, 2, or 3 spots. Unfortunately, a picture of the talented prospect taking a bong hit with a gasmask surfaced on his Instagram account on draft day. Even though the bong picture had been shot two years prior at a fraternity house, according to this report at sbnation.com, it surfaced at just the wrong time for Tunsil. The notorious bong picture led to text messages pirated from the young hopeful’s iCloud account. The messages discussed questionable money requests between Tunsil and the athletic director at the University of Mississippi. The disastrous timing of the two hacks is now an infamous case of malicious social media sabotage. It likely came from an embittered former “business advisor.” But that didn’t stop Tunsil from plummeting from the top 3 draft prospects at the time. The Miami Dolphins eventually picked up the left tackle at the #13 spot. That’s an estimated loss of 10 to 12 million dollars for Tunsil.
Your Past Can Always Come Back to Haunt YouLaremy Tunsil’s social media catastrophe demonstrates not only the potential for severe financial loss, but it’s an excellent example of the lingering effect of social media in the digital age. ESPN picked up screenshots of the incriminating text messages and they went viral. To this day, in 2018, Tunsil’s tarnished reputation remains because of that single bong picture. The incident is locked in for posterity, mentioned in his bio at Wikipedia, with the “draft day” fiasco appearing prominently in internet searches. So, how was Laremy Tunsil hacked? The media circus continues to this day, involving NCAA investigators and the FBI. However, those involved are remaining tight-lipped about the incident. Apparently, the shadowy “business advisor” provided Tunsil with a new Apple device. And the naive youngster accepted an offer to have his account information transferred by that unscrupulous individual during the setup process. That’s when he broke the cardinal rule of the internet. He gave away his iCloud account password. That opened the gate to the barrage of social media attacks and the media circus which still haunts him today.
Olympic Swimmer’s Tweet Sinks Jaguar EndorsementFor Stephanie Rice, three Olympic gold medals for swimming and the Medal of the Order of Australia were no insurance. The blunt 17-character tweet cost her an endorsement and the late-model $100,000-plus Jaguar which was one of the luxurious perks of her sponsorship by Jaguar Australia. In a burst of patriotic enthusiasm, then 22-year old Rice posted a short but ribald comment supporting her nation’s rugby victory when Australia’s Wallabies defeated South Africa’s Springboks. Rice tweeted “Suck on that f—gots” which she later admitted was done without discretion in “the excitement of the moment”, according to this report at Reuters. The 3-time gold medal winner has over 100 thousand followers on Twitter alone, so the retweets went viral and caught the attention of the ever-vigilant sports media. As they say, the rest is history. The chagrined swimmer quickly apologized and removed the comment, but as we’ve already learned that couldn’t prevent an exponential storm of retweets heard round the world. This is one of the hazards for athletes and other prominent personalities on Twitter with huge numbers of followers. The damage was beyond repair, despite the apologetic blog post from Rice. The Jaguar Australia general manager Kevin Goult made a public statement in a press release saying:
Stephanie Rice’s case underlines the fact that there is no such thing as yesterday’s news. The Reuter’s report we found as the source for this section carries the dateline SEPTEMBER 7, 2010 / 4:36 AM / 8 YEARS AGO.
“Jaguar Australia today terminated its relationship with Stephanie Rice, who has been an ambassador for the Jaguar brand in Australia since the start of 2010.”