xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: Parents on Facebook: Beware of reddit

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Parents on Facebook: Beware of reddit

Many of you guys know that I read reddit but for those of you who don't even know what I'm talking about, reddit is an incredibly popular website where people, called redditors, post images and links for other people to see. Posts are then "upvoted" or "downvoted" and the popular ones move up in the ranks for more people to see while the unpopular ones disappear forever, never to be seen again. When redditors post links and their links are upvoted, they receive what is called karma, which is a number next to your name that shows other redditors how popular you are.

For example, here is my karma.

Yeah, I'm kind of a big deal.

But actually, no I'm not, because reddit karma is totally meaningless.

I like to say that I love reddit but I hate redditors. I look at the funny pictures of cats but I try to stay far away from the comments, because redditors are complete assholes. They are selfish, they are unbelievably mean, they care about themselves, they don't give a shit about you, they know more than you do, and they have absolutely no problem with telling you all of that. The average redditor is a 20-something man with no kids and is a parenting expert. You know the type: they know how to parent, and the actual parents are all doing it wrong. And... like I said... they are incredibly mean about it.

There's a rising trend of late for redditors to take things they've seen in their Facebook feed and upload it. Other people's information, other people's pictures, it's all fair game when you're trying to win karma. Reddit actually has a policy (one of the five rules that they have) that you're not allowed to post somebody else's personal information or link to their Facebook page, but there's nothing stopping anybody from taking screenshots and uploading them to imgur, or of outright stealing other people's pictures.

The reddit post that inspired me to write this post is called "From my FB feed: HELP ME! Tomorrow is school picture day and someone is INSISTING on wearing what he believes to be the coolest outfit ever. All efforts to convince him otherwise or to make slight modifications have thus far been a complete failure..." A (probably) 20 something man stole a picture of somebody else's child, copied and pasted what the parent said about their kid, uploaded it for the world to see, with the intention of calling out their parenting and having a little reddit circle jerk about that person's questionable choices. And boy did it work! This post hit the front page and this redditor got a lot of karma for it.

And when I say "for the world to see," I really mean it. Popular posts on reddit are viewed by multiple millions of people. Even unpopular posts get thousands of views, but reddit links have been known to take down entire sites because of the sheer volume of traffic they generate. So, here we have a redditor, who has taken a picture of somebody else's child and made it so that child's picture was viewed by millions of people. And do the parents know this? I wrote to him but haven't heard back, but I can't imagine that parent would have given permission for this. (If I hear back after posting this, I will update).

Now, I'm sure critics of this post will cite the copyright offender's battlecry "if you didn't want something to be shared on the internet then you shouldn't have posted it on the internet," but we're talking about parents posting pictures of their children to their own Facebook wall, with the belief that their picture will only be viewed by their friends and family. You can have your privacy settings locked down as tight as possible, but one of your "friends" can still take your pictures and use them however they want. It's not an issue of Facebook privacy policy, it's not an issue of reddit privacy policy, it's an issue of people being assholes and exploiting your personal information for a meaningless number on a website that doesn't matter.

I am incredibly disturbed by this and I'm writing this post so that parents on Facebook are aware. There's nothing Facebook can do, there's nothing reddit is willing to do, the problem lies between people and whoever their FB friends are. And so I want you to know that you need to be really careful about who you are friends with on Facebook, because you have no idea what people are doing with the information you post to your wall. Scrutinize your friends list: how many 20 something men with no children are in there? How many of them are assholes who don't care about your privacy? Find out. Unfriend them before a picture of your kid goes viral, because by then it's way too late.