Wednesday, June 12, 2019

You Have the Right to Remain Unpublished

Social media, I think, should come with its own version of a Miranda warning: Anything you post can and will be used against you in the Court of Public Opinion.

The degree to which things that people post on the Internet will come back to haunt them is a random variable. While the currently trendy version is Offense Archaeology, about a decade ago, there was a steady, if light, stream of stories about some or another person losing their job because their employer had found a post they'd made of themselves doing something ill-considered, but otherwise legal (such as partying a bit too hard). While it's understood that the legal system can be very interested in what one posts online, many people come appear to be less aware that this or that social media or internet thing can suddenly become the one thing that they will be judged on, if they're ever in the fickle spotlight of public attention.

Now, the Court of Public Opinion is a pretty poor venue; it has poor standards of evidence, no protections against double jeopardy and doesn't care about allowing the accused to confront their accuser(s). Which is why I'm often surprised at the general level of incaution that people often have concerning it. Of course, many people are of the understanding that since they're "one of the good guys" they'll never have to worry about it. But did I mention that the Court of Public Opinion also lacks prohibitions against ex post facto prosecutions?

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