How cyber harassment affects landing a new job

Last week I received a message through Facebook that later on, it impacted me more than I will ever thought. My friend text me about a website where people where posting anonymously nude photos from women we know in town. It went viral. You could see a “full catalog” organized by name and last name of local girls you probably know exposed to the internet.

Morbidness, curiosity, whatever it is, you where just one click away of it. You could barely see how men (and by the way, I also think some women were involved) would post generically something like the following:

“I have photos from X, looking for photos from Y. If interested, send me an email and let’s exchange photos.”

Ever play Pokemon or Yugioh? Seems like these people do. They were (or actually might be) trading photos as they where cards. Some people even attached a photo from the girl they have photos as a preview. Everything seem to be fine and everyone happy. Of course, there’s no problem until women exposed get notice, and obviously it happened. An affected woman went to the police seeking for help and asking for the removal of the pictures.

All of the photos were removed. But hey, welcome to the Internet. When something goes online, it’s out of your control. Some of these people take the time to get as much as possible all the photos on the website, put them all together on a folder, zip it and make a torrent of it. Now you can download all of them on the The Pirate Bay.

There’s no way these girls can fight these people, and how can you fight someone if don’t know who put them online? They can have a clue of whom they send the photos. It could be an ex boyfriend, or it could be a friend from that person that steal the photos from his computer, phone, tablet or whatever device, or the worst scenario, it’s their fault for sending nude pics to random people. Even if they find the responsible, how can they reverse the cyber harassment? They can’t.

I started speaking about this issue to different people, meaning my friends, coworkers, my family, even duckduckgo the issue. Lots of points of view, but the one that get all my attention was from adult people stating how this affect the exposed women to land a job. Let’s make something clear, not just women, everyone exposed to cyber harassment.

Companies can quickly search online for you, look at your social media, see your interests, what you do, who you are, who are your friends, where have you study, travel and so on. They can literally know you in just a couple of minutes. So what happens when your involve in a cyber harassment? Would you get hire in a company if they know you have nude photos of yourself online? Or photos of yourself drunk, or high on drugs? The answer is most of them will not consider hiring you if you are involve on one of these.

We are responsible for what we put online, but it’s out of our control what other people post of ourselves online.

Scared? We need to understand something. Millennials where born in an era where either they grew and saw the rise of the internet, or were born with the internet on their hand. A huge part of millennials lives is stored on the internet, and it’s the first generation living it. There’s good moments and bad moments.

When I was in mid school, it was the first time I saw a case of cyber harassment. People started sharing a photo of two school girls almost naked via MSN Messenger. I’m talking it happens about 12 years ago (I’m 25 now). Back to 2016, this photo is on the same folder of the exposed girls. Someone keep it on their computer and put it back to the internet, meaning this problem seems like a harassment that will last forever.

The truth is, cyber harassment will continue affecting people on the future. It may started on MSN Messenger, then hi5, then Myspace, then Facebook and so on. As things go I will not be impress to see it also on new platforms such as virtual reality.

As first generation facing this problem, we need to take cyber harassment very seriously. It’s sad that older people don’t understand that we are not perfect (and nobody is meant to be) and in today’s connected world, everything can be capture by a smartphone or tablet and get online instantly. We are going to make mistakes, it’s part of being young, so we have to work this issue seriously as a society and find new ways to protect the affected people.

As stated before, it’s just switching from one platform to another. Does 10 years is a more than a prove that this will continue? How long does it need to take to address this legally? And more important, how will companies deal with cyber harassment in the present and future?

My only consolation is that sometime in the future we are going to be the people hiring other people, and we will have a very different point of view regarding cyber harassment.

Thanks for reading, will love to hear your opinion.