In one of my previous blog posts, I have mentioned ‘Catfish’ and how this was one of the many negatives of having multiple online identities. For those who perhaps did not see this post, the video below is a quick overview of ‘Catfish’.
I think it is fair to say that ‘catfishing’ is an increasingly common issue occurring online. However, the view which is most commonly portrayed is that of the person who has been ‘catfished’. But, what is it really like for the people whose identity is being stolen?
Can you imagine if someone took everything you posted online, whether it be pictures of you, your family and friends and passed it off as their own? Well, for Ruth Palmer this was a very real problem. Furthermore, if taking someones pictures isn’t bad enough imagine how she felt when someone literally re-wrote her life for everyone to see and portrayed her as a completely different person. I personally cannot think of anything worse. Kelly McCarthy and Jon Will Chambers are also examples of people who have had their pictures taken and used to seek out online relationships. I have previously mentioned that I am currently looking for a placement this year and Jobvite’s statistics show that recruiters use social media to check out applicants before offering them a position. If someone was to take my pictures and use them for this purpose, it could potentially jeopardise my chance of securing a placement, especially if the life they were creating was deemed unprofessional.
However, people’s photos can also be taken for different purposes e.g. artist Richard prince made a hefty amount of money ($90,000 per picture) from taking people’s Instagram pictures without asking and blowing the pictures up to put in an exhibition. There are many stories of people taking credit for photographs that don’t belong to them and trying to pass them off as their own, but before reading the article on Richard prince I had never heard of someone taking people’s Instagram photos to display as an art piece.
Both taking someone’s personal pictures to pretend to be someone else and using other people’s photos in order to make money are questionable. Below I have made a mind map to summarise ethics in regards to this topic.
Is it so wrong to take someone else’s pictures and pass them off as your own? The simple answer to this is YES, it is completely unethical to take someones pictures and pass them off as your own. Whether it be pictures of the person, their friends or even an artistic picture they have taken themselves, they belong to that person and should not be used without permission or recognition.