Katie Park, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s Fall 2016 Mass Communication Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the following essay in response to the prompt: “Pages like ByeFelipe on Instagram are becoming increasingly popular. The concept of these pages is to blast those who are disrespectful on dating websites such as Tinder. Discuss the related privacy issues.”
Social media platforms such as Instagram, have been increasing in the number of users due to its creative and entertaining approach to interact with others. A user with the account name ByeFelipe has been noted as a very popular platform for a particular reason. The page is used to blast those who are disrespectful on dating sites such as Tinder, etc.
ByeFelipe was started by a woman named Alexandra Tweten, who received inappropriate messages from men essentially asking for sex. These men would lash out on her if she did not respond quickly; thus, Tweten used the Instagram account to blast these screenshots of the abusive conversation that took place. By exposing these content on Instagram, she wanted other women to know that they are not alone in this kind of experience, let men be aware that this is a serious issue that many women have to face, and lastly to bring attention to others about this problem. Over time, people began to take notice and then the content grew from just Tweten herself to many others using dating websites. She now has a large following and a community on social media. On the ByeFelipe Facebook page, she posts video content, events and advice on teaching others how to avoid and or protect oneself from these uncomfortable situations.
On the one hand, exposing these men’s photos or writings does raise some privacy concerns. The screenshots sometimes include the photos of the men who wrote the inappropriate texts or even their username. Unfortunately, posting anything online and then being shared on other social media platforms are perfectly legal. Every social media platform user should be aware that whatever content they decide to post and write about is going to affect them. It’s easier to write comments online because one is not directly facing the other. However, any abusive, racist or sexist comments can have serious consequences that can affect ones’ career and image to others.
For example, Tweten is not the only one who has shared screenshots of the abusive language that some men write in dating websites; Fox News shared that a man lost a job opportunity due to a woman who shared their conversation on her social media site. A recruiter saw the woman’s post and recalled his name. She immediately rejected him the offer. An employment attorney took a look over this case, and stated that what one puts out there is not protected conduct. If privacy is a concern, then one must consider what they decide to put out on the internet. One should understand the result of writing abusive messages to other is not protected.
Katie is a senior at Pepperdine University majoring in Advertising.
Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches Media Law. COM 570 covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.