While I try and try to keep an open mind about the potential of the Internet and the recently emerged Web 2.0 applications, such as social networking sites, there are frequent instances which display the exact opposite and play straight into the notion of the Internet as a facilitator for all things bad.
Both have garnered a significant amount of scrutiny from the public – and on the blogosphere – for the way they victimise innocent individuals and has once again questioned the adequacy of the privacy measures of Facebook.
Image Credit: Nova FM
The Brocial Network in particular has caused a tsunami of outrage, with comments from girls who found out their images were uploaded to the site stating their anger, embarrassment and vulnerability.
“I’m a little bit angry, to be honest. If it was one of my friends who has copied a photo of me to put on a public website and not let me know then I’d feel extremely betrayed”
These words from one of the victims of the network highlights the reality that the pictures on the site were uploaded (most likely) by people who know of the girls – this brings into play the idea of trust and common courtesy, not in relation to internet etiquette but just basic human interaction. While the idea that random men are ogling over the images of these women is highly misogynistic, the unauthorised uploading of photos and the breach of privacy is the central issue.
I’ve read a male’s point of view on the “Brocial Network” and it is interesting to take into consideration the other side of the debate which has been largely neglected – I strongly believe that it’s important to be informed on both sides of the issue, despite how obviously one-sided it may appear to me as a female.
I must admit, he makes a rational point . It’s human nature to look, we are all voyeurs at heart and why should we be reprimanded for this natural instinct? Well we shouldn’t. BUT I think the issue with this matter comes from the fact the girls are being objectified in every way and that it’s a resurgence of the age-old idea of the male-gaze. In this day and age of equal rights for women it is the fact they are being degraded to being objects rather than subjects in the photos, and unwillingly or unknowingly as well, that is the crux of the problem.
That said, I agree with this blogger, that it is the “Brocial King” that is to blame for this situation but I disagree when he argues that the participation of members, like himself, is irrelevant; without the members commenting, rating and uploading the photos, there would be no site in the first place. It is a prime example of produsage – the users are responsible for the content (Bruns 2008)- and due to this, a member of the Brocial Network is just as responsible for the objectification of the unaware women as the “Brocial King” who set up the framework for the network in the first place.
I’m sure that one day- hopefully in the near future – we will hear more stories of the Internet helping not hindering society; bringing us together rather than ridiculing and ostracising us. Maybe it is already happening, maybe these good things are going on right under our noses but we just don’t know about it because the media likes to report on stories that will conjure up controversy rather than agreement. It’s curious, isn’t it?
Bruns, Axel. ‘The Future is User-Led: The Pather Towards Widespread Produsage’.Fibreculture Journal 11 (2008) http://journal.fibreculture.org/issue11/issue11_bruns.html.