They say that making others feel bad makes some people feel good. Nowhere is this notion more prevalent than on social media. On Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and the like, more often than not, somebody is using words, pictures or a combination of the two to try to decimate someone else’s morale. However, while some users operate with the mindset that “It’s just [insert social network],” there are legal implications to the vitriol you spread online with consequences.
A recent example of this would be a situation involving Texas teenage cancer patient, Nicole Pfister. The 14-year-old is diagnosed with a “high-risk” form of leukemia, and is now bald as a result. As if she didn’t have enough to deal with, she had to endure cruel jokes from her ex-boyfriend, a freshman football player, and his new cheerleader girlfriend. She has reportedly had to deal with nonsense from the couple privately in the past, but public cruelty came in the form of IG posts, one from each of Pfister in a green hoodie. The Daily Mail reports:
The teen cheerleader wrote, ‘”Knock, knock”, “who’s there”, “Not your white blood cells, that’s for sure”, adding a crying-from-laughing emoji and the hashtag #cancer.
Posting the same picture, Nicole’s ex wrote that she was ’embarrassing’, adding ‘kill yourself’, before asking: ‘[What] are you even doing alive?’
An outpouring of love and support came from Pfister’s classmates and strangers alike. One of the strangers was NFL player Devon Still whose journey with his young cancer-stricken daughter, Leah, has been well-documented. However, Pfister was truly vindicated when the dickhead duo was arrested and taken to county jail on charges of public harassment.
Pfister has expressed remorse over her attackers’ arrest and jailing, but it is what it is. Let that be a lesson, that it is totally possible to get locked over the ying-yang you spew on social media.