Social Media Purges: Are YOU Next?

The decadence of morality in society can be observed through the horrors of social media purges.

Maria Estrada

The decadence of morality in society can be observed through the horrors of social media “purges”.

Maria Estrada, Spanish Editor

We live in a generation where rapid technological advancement has facilitated globalization and permitted nearly instantaneous correspondence. The invention of the Internet has allowed the predominance of new methods of international communication, especially the flourishing prevalence of social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But what happens when intrinsically innocent social media platforms are utilized as a way to deprecate others?

When Noah Glass, Evan Williams, Kevin Systrom, Mike Kreiger,  and Mark Zuckerbeg all launched their legendary social networks, they never envisioned their algorithmic masterpieces to be the soil from which public humiliation and damnation could spring. A new social media phenomenon known as “purging” is taking the Internet by storm as of late, in which individuals create anonymous accounts through which they expose to the public nude photographs of teenagers.

These accounts portray themselves as vigilantes, but nothing could be further from the truth. Inherently, purging is a sadistic violation of privacy and causes victims to be cast in the most abhorrent light. What many don’t realize, though,  is that these images of persuasion  are considered a form of child pornography; possessing and publishing these photographs is a punishable criminal offense.

“I think it’s despicable. Not only is it potentially illegal by exposing underage victims, it’s a gross violation of the sanctity of one’s body; to ever intentionally submit these photos would render a person of the most horrid variety,”  junior Howard Senior said.

These accounts present themselves as a way to expose those naive enough to share such intimate photographs. While it might have appeared  ingenuous at the time to trust your romantic partner with such intimate pictures, to ever submit something like that to a “purge account” is indubitably an inexcusable, monstrous act. The person who submitted the image to the account is completely betraying the victim’s personal sovereignty, regardless of their utter misconception of justice.

“I think it’s an invasion of privacy. What many believe to be ‘only fair’ because they willingly took them is just a lack of respect for the person. If anything it shows that there is a clear disregard for any privacy in today’s society,” senior Marcos Balsera said.

Purging is just one of the plethora of ways in which technology is manipulated to demean a person’s image. We are a society fascinated by the misery of others. The world depicted by Nathaniel Hawthorne in the “Scarlet Letter”  is not far from the horrors found in modern society. We are quick to condemn others, devoid of empathy, for the torment of our peers. Collectively, we cast a scarlet letter upon those who perpetrate acts of social immorality. Who is to blame: the amoral instigator or the judgmental audience?