In this day and age, you would be forgiven for thinking that people don’t want privacy. Many people, celebrities in particular, plaster their daily lives on social media to complete strangers. Their main motivation for this is business orientated, with each “like”, “tweet” or “view” they get translating into a financial reward. Although being an “internet celebrity” may not seem like a legitimate business to some, it is clear people are making large amounts of money from it. With this in mind, the boundaries of what is considered “public” and “private” are increasingly questioned.
In 2014 a breach of privacy occurred when “over 400 explicit images of celebrities appeared on websites such as 4chan”. (BBC News, 2016) This incident was labelled “celebgate” and was the result of hacks on celebrities “I-clouds”. Although this action was obviously a breach of privacy, some social media users placed blame with the celebrities. These users “questioned the choice of these celebrities to take the photos”. (Davisson, 2016) It could be suggested that in a world where celebrities are so public, there are some who feel they are not entitled to any form of online privacy.
With the introduction of “vlogging” as a business on platforms like YouTube, many internet personalities could be seen to show too much of their lives and almost treat their fans like family. In 2015 famous “vlogger” Zoella experienced a series of incidents involving fans trespassing at her home. Some twitter users felt that as she was famous she should’ve “seen these incidents coming”.
This raises an ethical issue of when privacy begins and ends. If these personalities are willing to share so much of their lives should they not expect and accept situations like the above occurring?
One recent example of where privacy impacted an online personality, and in turn their business, involves the robbery of Kim Kardashian on October 3rd 2016. Just weeks before this event in an interview with CBS’S 60 minutes Kardashian discussed how she could “handle her loss of privacy”. She also “attributes her career to social media”. In what some may perceive as irony, the social media she used to make her millions resulted in armed robbers “tracking her” after seeing jewellery she had posted on Instagram just days before.
To conclude, these online personalities businesses do rely on social media to expand and make money. With this reliance however, they do risk a lack of privacy that can result in negative outcomes that some may feel outweigh the benefits.
- BBC NEWS (2016), Online Article Accessed [23/11/2016]: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/35820521/meet-the-man-behind-the-leak-of-celebrity-nude-photos-called-the-fappening
- Davisson, A. (2016), “Passing around women’s bodies online: Identity, Privacy and free speech on Redditt”, Controversies In Digital Ethics, New York: Bloomsbury Academic (2016)
- Online Infographic personally created through Piktochart [23/11/2016]: https://magic.piktochart.com/output/18449240-topic-4-pictochart
- The Independent (2015), Online Article Accessed [23/11/2016]: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/youtubers-zoe-zoella-sugg-and-alfie-deyes-hit-out-at-fans-for-invading-their-privacy-a6791051.html
- YouTube Video, Posted by CBS News (2016), Online Resource Accessed [24/11/2016]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWXpnS680AI