The "Brocial Network" is not OK

Posted on May 18, 2011 | 3 minute read

For those who aren’t familiar with the “Brocial Network” debacle, the Brocial Network is a Facebook group where only men are allowed to join (I use the term ‘men’ loosely here). These men are then required to post racy pictures of their female friends. I’m not sure if all photos of the women come from their Facebook profiles or if these people post photos they have that may not be found on Facebook as well. They then provide the woman’s personal details, like her name, in the group.

Some people seem to think that if a woman posts these photos on Facebook she’s opening herself up to having them reposted and seen by anyone. And in most cases that would be true. I agree that the girls are idiots for publishing these photos in the first place. However, Facebook has privacy settings for a reason. These men are Facebook friends of these women, likely having more access to their personal details (photos included) than some random profile visitor. (I said likely, not always). They hold a level of trust. Sure, everyone needs to be careful of what they post on the internet. But when you post some photos and purposefully protect them, making them private to everyone except for certain people, and then someone from that trusted group goes and posts one or more of the photos without your permission on a website or Facebook group whose sole purpose is to perve on unknowing and unconsenting women it stops being a case of “Well….shouldn’t have posted them in the first place.” and becomes a case of “That guy is a giant ass.”

And it’s not just about the act of this trusted “friend” reposting the photo, it’s about his intention and where he publishes that photo. Any group that encourages (even requires) people to post personal information about other individuals (we’re just talking about regular people here, not political figures and such) without their consent, in my opinion, should be promptly banned. Were these women idiotic for publishing these photos in the first place (if that’s indeed what they were doing)? Yes. Does that make it OK for someone on their friends list to post this photo in some sleazy group that focuses on distributing photos and personal details without consent? No. In addition, believe it or not photos of people don’t always pop up on Facebook as a result of them posting these up themselves. Friends (and even non-friends) post photos of each other all the time, so let’s just think for a second before assuming that all of these girls had any control over having their photos published online.

I’m not under the impression that privacy can be expected on the Internet. However, this does not mean that we should be ditching the entire concept of online privacy out the window. The bottom line is that these people are republishing other people’s photos without their permission. If being indecent assholes doesn’t justify Facebook removing this group, the copyright violations (and please correct me if I’m wrong) associated with what they’re doing should. If anything, that should already be enough for Facebook to remove the group and any others like it.

Where do you stand on the issue of the “Brocial Network” Facebook group and online privacy in general?




Categories:blog
comments powered by Disqus