Monday, November 11, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombing HFS

It's been quite a while since my last update and I apologize for this blog becoming so sparsely updated. I haven't had as much time as I'd like to peruse trends on the Chinese Internet and so a lot of stories have been slipping under my radar.

However, I would like to share this one story that hits very close to home.

A few weeks ago, a 22-year-old girl named Alicia Ann Lynch from Michigan tweeted and shared a photo of herself dressed up as a Boston Marathon bombing victim for Halloween. All judgement and poor-taste aside, what interests me about the story is the backlash she received and the exact similarities it holds against HFS cases in China.

As with HFS searches in China, American netizens used her social networking accounts to gather information about the young girl. Having discovered a photo of her driver's license, netizens were able to discern her address. Within days netizens found nude photos of her and shared all of that around the internet.

Netizens then took to the comments section of an article about the girl's poor decision to share her address and the names of her employer. The girl closed all of her social media accounts in an effort to evade netizens, but that was in vain. She reopened her account briefly to tell that she had lost her job.

As with cases of HFS in China, while most netizens spoke out against Lynch, there were many who also advocated against the wave of cyber-bullying and shaming that shook the story.

What this shows is that while the internet in America is significantly smaller than that of China, human flesh searches, or crowd-sourcing movements as they're more commonly referred to in the US, can be just as dangerous and common.

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