Can you spell Fraudulent?

Can+you+spell+Fraudulent%3F

As yet another “burn book” style Instagram account pops up to sow chaos at Livermore High School, I thought I’d take the opportunity to speak to my fellow students about an aspect of this that they may not have considered. Read on if you feel like you’re at risk of using the dubious cloak on anonymity to bully your peers. 

Let’s talk about digital footprints, Cowboys. 

So what exactly is a digital footprint? As defined by the Oxford Languages dictionary: “The information about a particular person that exists on the internet as a result of their online activity.” According to Copyrightlaws.com, you own the content you post on social media: however, when you post to any social media platform, you have given them a license to use your copyrighted work in any way they want. 

To many, knowing what you say on the internet will follow you for a long time isn’t breaking news, but alas, some high school students lack self awareness, common sense, and critical thinking skills. 

Let’s talk about harboring child pornogprahy and even posting it on social media! According to the United States Department of Justice:

“Images of child pornography are not protected under First Amendment rights, and are illegal contraband under federal law. Section 2256 of Title 18, United States Code, defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (someone under 18 years of age).  

The legal definition of sexually explicit conduct does not require that an image depict a child engaging in sexual activity.  A picture of a naked child may constitute illegal child pornography if it is sufficiently sexually suggestive.”

“Federal law prohibits the production, distribution, reception, and possession of an image of child pornography using or affecting any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce” (See 18 U.S.C. § 2251; 18 U.S.C. § 2252; 18 U.S.C. § 2252A).  

In short, it is very illegal to possess or post ANY form of child pornogrophy, whether it be explicitly sexual or just a naked body. 

If you’ve been convicted of a child pornography-related crime, either federal or state, your sentence will likely include mandatory sex offender registration. This means that your photo, address, and other information will appear in a database for monitoring and tracking sex offenders.

It is both a federal and state crime to knowingly fail to register or update a sex offender listing as required by law. Food for thought, don’t post child pornography! 

Enough of that: let’s talk about cyber bullying. One problem with anonymous cyber bullying is there isn’t someone to hold accountable, which enables the bully to say much worse things than they normally would. 

“The ruthlessness of the prosecutors and the eagerness of neighbor to testify against neighbor brilliantly illuminate the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence.” (-Christopher Bigsby, Crucible introduction) If you focused on “destructive power of sanctioned violence”, congrats, you’re right on the mark. In the Crucible, marginalized women were being accused of witch-craft, similar to the slander accounts, mostly women are being slandered; or in other words, slut shamed. 

In “Social media witch-hunts are no different to the old kind- just bigger” the author, Malcolm Gaskill, argues that women are the main perpetrators of  cyberbullying, and even goes as far as writing “The bible taught that women were the “weaker vessel”, and therefore more vulnerable to diabolic temptation.” Ironically enough, most of these slander pages are maintained by men; and it is women who are being targeted. For instance, take the “exposing_lhscms_girlies” account into consideration. The account went up about a month ago and got virtually no interactions, yet multiple views. The owner of the account even went as far as linking a petition reading: “The Livermore high school popular girls have been terrorizing the people since middle school. They are mean, cruel, bullies, seductive, and create a toxic school environment. Sign this petition to cancel them. Time to rise against the social injustices and break down the popular girls’ spirits. No more whores at Livermore.” The only injustices I see here is the owner of the petition being the only signer and the overuse of adjectives- I do believe “bullies”  would have alluded to all that. This attitude creates a paradox; take down the “bullies” by slut shaming them- fight fire with fire. Not a whole lot of intelligence being presented here. If there is an underlying theme with accounts of this archetype, it is to flich the high status of others, to ascribe roles in an imaginary social hierarchy, and  overall, to exact revenge. The scathing intent of these accounts does not go unnoticed. Why would somebody do this on purpose when they could do something else. 

The best thing you can do with accounts of this nature is not interact; don’t follow, don’t like, and don’t comment- even if you are standing up for yourself or someone else…no matter how absurd the rumor is. Susannah Martin, victim of the Salem Witch Trials, once said, “A false tongue will never make a guilty person.”