Erasing Social Media Mistakes
March 4, 2014
March 4, 2014
California is primed to enact a very intriguing piece of legislation, one that could have tremendous implications on social media for this and future generations.
The law, which will commence in 2015, would give minors the ability to remove reputation-damaging social media postings. California hopes to inspire D.C. legislators to make this applicable nation-wide.
Excising regrettable postings helps to keep kids in good standings so that when they apply for college and employment these will not come back to haunt them. In a way, it’s sort of like the 21st century equivalent of sealing juvenile court records.
Certainly this is something that would be useful for everyone given what we’ve seen on social media from users of all ages, but juveniles are in a particularly critical stage of development without the moral compass or sensibility that comes with adulthood. This is especially relevant to college and job searches.
As one would imagine, this law does raise a few questions.
My generation (Millennials) has been the subject of countless think pieces deriding a whole host of qualities we are perceived to display. At the risk of contributing to that, would this law serve to shirk the responsibilities that should come with signing up for social media?
There’s also the matter of how this law will be put into practice. Because it is a California specific law, proof of residence will have to be established. What if the user moves? Is current location or location at the time of the positing what is used?
Exactly how will the erasing happen? This is perhaps the most important question given the tried and true saying that the Internet is forever. Having a social media company take down a posting is a great start, but there’s still the matter of screen caps going viral.
Regardless, I think this law is a step in the right direction. James Steyer, founder and chief executive of Common Sense Media, is on point when he says this law “puts privacy in the hands of kids, teenagers and the parents, not under the control of an anonymous tech company.”