Think Before You Tweet Part Deux

People, people – have we already forgotten what I said about the Internet being forever?! I am afraid so, based on one 14-year-old Dutch girl’s tweets to American Airlines over the weekend.

Sarah A.K.A. @QueenDemetriax_ posted a fake terrorist threat against American Airlines on her Twitter account, tweeting the following at the airline:

@AmericanAir hello my name’s Ibrahim and I’m from Afghanistan. I’m part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I’m gonna do something really big bye

The airline promptly responded with the following:

@QueenDemetriax_ Sarah, we take these threats very seriously. Your IP address and details will be forwarded to security and the FBI.

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Sarah then begins to freak out, while simultaneously being jubilant about her increase in Twitter followers (typical 14-year-old girl reaction I’d say). She even tweeted “Okay today was the highlight of my twitter days.” I mean, are you kidding me?!

Well, SHOCKER ALERT, turns out it is actually not smart to tweet fake terrorist threats! Who woulda thunk it? Sarah has since been arrested and her Twitter account has been suspended. But, luckily Storify has screenshots of all her tweets here.

I really don’t know what to say about this, but I’ll repeat myself once more. The Internet is forever. For.Ever. Even though Sarah deleted her tweets and even though her account is no longer in use, Storify captured her tweets and they will forever be available for people to search and for people to remember Sarah’s lack of judgment.

And, it’s a reminder that if the Internet finds something to be a big deal, the world is going to have to react. Even if her threat was fake, because there was so much attention surrounding it, it would’ve been a crime not to arrest her, for if such a threat had been dismissed as fake and had become real, there would’ve been a great deal of blame passed around.

So, like I said in talking about Stephen Colbert, think before you tweet. Think before you post anything on social media or online. While most of us would know not to make such a distasteful joke like Sarah, I am sure there are times when we have tweeted or posted questionable or risque things. Don’t do it. People can screenshot that in seconds and it can haunt you for eternity. So think before you post, and really, just don’t be dumb.

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A Real Life Catfishing

I just wrote about an online fairytale, and here I am twenty four hours later about to talk about an online nightmare.

You’ve probably heard of the dating app Tinder, right? I’ve never used the app but from what I understand it “matches” you to people you may want to date who are within a certain radius of you (is that right world?). The app’s website claims “It’s like real life, but better.” 

On the app, your Facebook page is linked to your Tinder profile, and this allows you to choose certain photos from your Facebook to appear on your Tinder profile. You can then write a little bio about yourself that appears under your name (first name only). Basically you match up with people (and potentially go on dates with them) after only looking at a few pictures. Doesn’t sound like real life to me, but I digress.

My classmate and friend Kristin recently learned that her identity has been stolen online and is being used on Tinder. Someone who is going by the name of “Kim” and is about 80 miles away from Athens, GA has used photos of Kristin to advertise herself on Tinder. It’s like an episode of Catfish, but it’s all too real when it’s your face in the photos.

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Turns out this “Kim” gal has gone so far as to create a fake Facebook account with Kristin’s pictures. Scary stuff. 

Kristin is angry, and rightfully so. I would be terrified to find that someone had taken photos of me offline and used them for their own purposes. Even creepier when it’s used on this dating app. 

Kristin is now trying to find said “Kim,” and is using her situation as motivation for her final class paper to write about online security and privacy. But, she needs YOUR help. If you live near Athens, GA and can “match” with “Kim” on Tinder, we need you to do that! We need to stop “Kim” and save Kristin’s identity! Please read Kristin’s story here and pass this along! And, if you get any leads, email Kristin at shotwellka@gmail.com.