When Has Online Privacy Crossed the Line?

Opinion

Anonymous social media sites have become the new Instagram and Snapchat that have drawn the attention of audiences of all ages. Mainly during the pandemic, anonymous sites were commonly used to communicate with strangers through a platform that allowed new connections to be made in a private way that allowed them to release information about themselves as they please. Unlike other well-known social media sites that rely on their users to post themselves and create a public profile that is essentially a popularity contest for likes and follows, which leaves no room for privacy. Anonymous sites are a fiasco that does more harm than good. 

Anonymous social media sites allow users to create accounts that are private, untraceable, and dangerous. Social media sites are dangerous as they are even with the ability to trace back to one identity, but when there is no identity or fake identity on anonymous sites this increases the risk of cyberbullying. They provide the perfect opportunity for its users to present themselves in any way they please by posting, commenting, and writing whatever they want with no consequence. 

Anyone can become a whole different person, fake their identity, and use that identity to hurt and attack people online continuously because no one knows who is behind the account. This could lead to more serious problems such as sexual harassment. 

Many minors are on these websites, which allows adults to communicate with minors in ways that could be inappropriate. Due to the privacy of these accounts and the ability to lie about age, this can become extremely easy. This makes it more accessible for online predators to harass and harm users, luring them into sex, drugs, and the exchange of illegal pictures.  It provides an easy platform to escalate a situation once minors or other users are lured by predators. 

Although some may argue that anonymous social media sites are in fact beneficial, the pros can’t even come close to outweighing the cons. However, some will say that these sites give a safe space for people to communicate without getting the judgment that they could receive from their close ones due to their anonymous policy. While it is true that these sites can provide more opportunities for communication with new people and communities, it simply is not safe.

Online communities can be very beneficial, they allow one to put themselves out there in a social, yet less personal way. And while it fosters feelings of belonging, the main concern of users of social media should be online safety especially when it comes to minors who can become easy targets that can be manipulated by someone hiding behind a screen and fake identity. This is why other social media platforms that are more public, with accounts that can be traced back to identity should be used in order to minimize the danger of too much privacy that occurs on anonymous sites.