As if there aren’t enough reasons already for people to be wary of what they publish on social media platforms, two British tourists were recently detained by U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials for statements made on their Twitter accounts in mid-January.
According to a Mashable article, Leigh Van Bryan and friend Emily Bunting were questioned for five hours and kept in a holding cell overnight after stopped by officials at the Los Angeles airport. Van Bryan’s earlier tweets had referenced “destroying” the U.S. and digging up Marilyn Monroe’s grave. Later, Van Bryan claimed that he was treated like a terrorist despite explaining to authorities that they had the wrong idea.
While it appears that this was a big misunderstanding, and Van Bryan and Bunting likely had no intention of harm, I can’t say I feel sorry for them. Time and time again news stories surface about individuals being fired from their jobs as a result of statements they’ve posted on Facebook and Twitter, or young adults being disregarded for jobs due to pictures on their Facebook page.
Gone are the days that conversations taking place on the internet are private between the two parties involved. Therefore, Van Bryan’s excuse of “I didn’t mean it” holds little ground, when such an unsettling conversation such as his shouldn’t have taken place over Twitter in the first place.