Social Slashdot Effect
So you think linking to Lehtovaara is a mob in action?
No. This is a mob in action. (Read the comments as well.)
Within hours, she was labeled gae-ttong-nyue (dog-shit-girl) and her pictures and parodies were everywhere. Within days, her identity and her past were revealed. Request for information about her parents and relatives started popping up and people started to recognize her by the dog and the bag she was carrying as well as her watch, clearly visible in the original picture. All mentions of privacy invasion were shouted down with accusations of being related to the girl. The common excuse for their behavior was that the girl doesn't deserve privacy.
Scary shit. It's a different thing to attack a public establishment (who did a really stupid thing), which is supposed to be able to handle public critique, than it is to attack a single person that happens to have a bad day (and bad manners). She'll be scarred for life.
And the law does not help here - once the story is out, what can you do? Sue the people who posted the story? Well, assuming that you can figure out who they were, that might get you some money (or not - I mean, if the report is factually accurate, it's not even technically slander, though it might be constituted as an invasion of privacy), but you will still be laughed at years from now. The average person is unlikely to do anything so drastically good that it would offset the googlebalance to his favour, but a company can gain enough good reviews to offset even a nasty googlebombing. So she will be known as "dog shit girl" for the rest of his life.
Think about it: maybe the next time you do something very stupid, and there happens to be a budding net journalist wannabe around with a cell phone camera, you might become the Most Hated Person in the entire country within a week. People will stop you on the street and tell you how stupid you are, send you hate mail, and deface your house. Herkko has received some pretty abusive comments on his blog (and other fora) already how he is such a snotty asscracker who should stay in his home and that the bad treatment at the restaurant was their fault! He is getting the spillovers of hate that come from this internet phenomenon - I'm sure the original posters of the girl's image have received plenty of shit over doing it (deservedly so).
The internet is uncontrollable. This is something that many activists say when they talk about the freedom of speech to old media companies, but they don't really get it. It will eventually hit them back in the face.
From Don's comments: "Thanks to technology, we are able to build a better society in which citizens are the police, prosecutors, and judges."
(Via Boing Boing.)
Oh yeah, I did actually think whether I should post about this and add to the mass hysteria or not, but I figured that this is certainly relevant news due to the Lehtovaara case currently in orbit around the Finnish blogosphere. I think it is important to understand events like these, and be aware that in the near future such things might well be more common - also in Finland. And perhaps it will make someone think about his responsibility as a publisher.
Update: ...and I need to start learning to use preview when blogging...
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