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I'm starting to think the Internet will be the ultimate instrument of humanity's downfall. Or at least Twitter and Facebook. It sure brings out the lunatics. (And here I am posting about it... hmmm.)

About a week ago Melissa Stetten, a model, sent a series of tweets from a redeye flight from LA to NYC saying she was sitting next to Brian Presley, a working but obscure actor, who was allegedly hitting on her, drinking beer, and telling her he was single. (Presley is in AA and is married with kids.) She appeared unaware of who he was until a Twitter follower sent her his IMDB profile. He denies anything happened beyond a 10 minute chat followed by his going to sleep. Google it if you want to see an incredible pile of verbal abuse, much of it from online 'journalists', directed at one party or the other under the assumption that either he's a lying dog or she's a lying bitch. The majority consensus at the moment seems to be the former.

The actual undisputed facts? Presley and Stetten were on a flight together. They talked. At some point he fell asleep. She tweeted an embarrassing account of their conversation and took a picture of him sleeping which she also tweeted. (This is actually somewhat debatable since the person in the picture has his face turned away, but I'm going to assume it's him.) We can also pretty safely assume that he told her some personal information about himself including his name (at least first name), his profession, where he's from, and where he lives.

The thing is, it doesn't matter whether or not Presley had a beer or was hitting on Stetten. The only proven bad act here is her taking a picture of him without his permission and tweeting it along with embarrassing accusations and enough personal information for him to be identified. That was an invasion of privacy, probably not rising to the level of libel since there's no way to prove what was said between them, but still harmful and sleazy.

What I find disturbing about all this is not so much the snide e-articles but the responses to them and especially the comments on Presley's Facebook and Stetten's blog, most of which are not only assuming they know for a fact which person is lying but are often put in extremely hateful language. It's nothing new and I guess I should expect it, but it's still disturbing.

The moral is... I dunno, it's hard to see any morality in this pile of crap.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 11th, 2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
This is exactly the kind of "mountain out of a mole hill" situation that keeps me away from all of those social network sites. I keep resisting the pressure to sign up for a Facebook account, etc. LJ is still the only place I post comments or make my own postings (and I don't even remember when I did *that* last...)
I wouldn't want to be a celebrity these days, their sparse privacy is shrinking more and more...
Jun. 11th, 2012 09:41 pm (UTC)
I agree. Social networking needs to be handled with a huge amount of caution, but unfortunately they're tailored to appeal to kids and teenagers who aren't known for discretion. It really bothers me that Facebook now wants to allow kids under 13 to join. There's just so much potential for mistakes and abuse, and kids both take these things way too seriously when they go wrong and don't fully realize that everything they do on the Internet is recorded forever and often not protected very well. I mean, look at the Clementi case - one person is dead and another is stigmatized for life, and that was a couple of college students old enough to know better.

I have a Facebook account, but I rarely post and never anything very personal. I always go under the assumption that the entire world can see whatever I write. And while I played a couple of the games at first, now I won't sign up for any of the apps/groups/games/petitions etc. since they always want access to my account information.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )