The only thing there's not an app for these days is a way for people to erase their embarrassing online pasts. That offensive comment scribbled on the Internet last year after too many drinks is still there for the world to see, and unlike a piece of lewd graffiti scrawled on a bathroom stall, there's no way to erase it. "I love Winona" can't be changed to "Wino Forever." As private lives have become public forums, that which was once only spoken about in private –the tasteless, racist, and homophobic things whispered behind closed doors –is now openly messaged on a giant communal billboard.
According to the BBC, one in 10 job seekers between 16 and 34 have been rejected for a job because of something posted on their social media profile. There are repercussions, after all, even in an interconnected surveillance society where private and public domains are interchangeable. Most social media stupidity involves "repetitional damage" -a boss sees a photo of you drunk at a party on Saturday night, or as in the case of Mexican-American actress Kate del Castillo, you tweet something controversial about Mexico and its political leaders, and the next thing you know you're supporting the Sinaloa drug lord El Chapo Guzman. And then there are these 7 people, the cream-of-the-crop whose social media stupidity reached new heights of digital élan.
- UK Politician's Twitter Row
There's controversial, and then there's just plain dumb. Stuart MacLennan, an MP hopeful for Scotland's Labour Party, found this out the hard way when he made offensive remarks on Twitter about slavery and old people being coffin dodgers. And his Twitter rant didn't end there; he called a woman a "boot" and referred to people sitting next to him in a restaurant as "chavs," a negative epithet for Britain's working class youth. MacLennan later apologized, but it was too late. He was dismissed from the Labour Party by the General Secretary.
- Prison Official Jokes About Being Groped
After a few weeks on the job, Michael Allred's Facebook update read: "Visiting the prisons… haven't been groped this much since the flight on the honeymoon… and this is just the guards." Of course, joking about prison rape isn't funny. If that isn't bad enough, Allred also shouted out his boss, Stephen Moyer, and dropped the name of the prison he was working at. Moyer, in return, wasted no time firing Allred. According to statement from the Maryland House of Correction, "Moyer has the utmost respect for correctional officers and requires all employees to respect the department, their authority, and their peers."
- Denver's Dope Loving Math Teacher
Carly McKinney, a first-year tenth grade math teacher, was put on administrative leave and eventually fired for her controversial Twitter account. Unlike most math teachers, Carly wasn't hash-tagging complex trig functions; she was posting "4:20" handles such as SpliffMeister and SpliffManiac. Sure, weed might be legal in Colorado, but Carly bragged about smoking at school, a no-no even this High Times loving state. If her tweets about marijuana and rave culture weren't bad enough, Carly liked to go full Kardashian and post revealing photos of herself on her account. In Carly's defense, she was only 23-years old, and what 23-year old isn't posting party pics on social media?
- Indecent Exposure and Food Contamination
In what can only be described as a misguided homage to Fight Club, Cameron Jankowski, an employee at an Indiana Taco Bell, urinated on an order of Nachos BellGrande and sent the pic streaming into the Twittersphere. What was the motive behind this lewd act? Was it an act of rebellion? Was it the first anarchic step in triggering a race war… a la Charles Manson? Nope. Jankowski garnished the nachos to win the admiration of Hunter Moore, the revenge po*n magnate who's serving time in jail for aggravated identity theft. Needlessly to say, Cameron was canned.
- Startups and Sexism
Startups have a long history of sexism. There's a lack of diversity in the tech industry, and that lack of diversity often breeds a lack of sensitivity. At a PyCon tech conference in 2013, two male attendees made a joke about "forking" and "big dongles," a clever, double entendre on tech terminology. Adria Richards, a tech developer, found the off-color joke offensive, snapped a photo of the men, and posted the picture and their joke on Twitter. All hell broke loose in Silicone Valley. One of the men was fired from the gaming platform he worked for. Adria Richards, on the other hand, received death threats and had her personal information leaked by a band of vigilante hackers.
- Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman Halloween Costumes
Halloween, 2013. Caitlin Cimeno, a Massachusetts mother of two, posed with two white men, William Filene and Greg Cimeno. The men are dressed as Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman; one of the men is wearing a neighborhood watch t-shirt, and the other a gray hoodie and blackface. Caitlin Cimeno posted the racist photo on Instagram and captioned it: "Happy Halloween from Zimmerman & Trayvon" with a smiley face emoticon. The picture caused an outrage online, and Caitlin Cimeno was quickly fired from her job. It wasn't the first time Caitlin used social media to launch a bigoted attack. A few years earlier, she berated a black girl on social media for wearing a "Black Girls Rock" t-shirt.
- Mock ISIS Execution
On June 4, the Huffington Post reported that six bankers from Birmingham, England were fired for staging a mock ISIS beheading and posting it on Instagram. The seven-second video shows five men dressed in black tracksuits and balaclavas; a sixth man, the beheading victim, is kneeling before them dressed in an orange jumpsuit –similar to the British aid workers who were kidnapped and killed by ISIS. One of the bankers yells "Allahu Akbar," and then waves a coat hanger near the victim, pretending to behead him. The six bankers pulled the outlandishly offense stunt during a team building exercise.