Justine Sacco, Lindsey Stone, and Alicia Ann Lynch all lost their jobs and suffered tremendous emotional distress from the vitriol unleashed in the social media world on each of them. Their “crime”: some tasteless posts on Twitter or Facebook.
Around the same day that several stories of Internet harmsurfaced, we learned that Dominique Strauss-Kahn—who after being accused of assaulting a New York hotel maid was allowed to address the French parliament and was appointed to a bank’s board of directors—was about to have charges dismissed related to his participation in orgies involving prostitutes. At Stanford University, since 1997, only 25 sexual assault or harassment caseshave made it through the university’s disciplinary process, with just 10 students found culpable, only one of whom was expelled. People who post inappropriate social media posts appear to face more opprobrium than those who engage in sexual assault.