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Seven People Whose Lives Were Ruined by Social Media

"We can lead good, ethical lives, but some bad phraseology in a tweet can overwhelm it all - even though we know that's not how we should define our fellow humans. What's true about our fellow humans is that we are clever and stupid. We are grey areas….The great thing about social media was how it gave a voice to voiceless people. Let's not turn it into a world where the smartest way to survive is to go back to being voiceless." – Jon Ronson

The worst things about social media are the mindless rage mobs. Someone says or does something that’s arguably offensive (usually on Twitter). It gets publicized somehow and then almost unlimited numbers of angry people chime in. They spew profanity, horrible abuse and often threats. In some cases, it gets even worse. The original offender gets doxed. The controversy leads to him getting fired. Many people aren’t used to having hundreds or even thousands of strangers hurling abuse at them and they freak out and withdraw under the strain. Ironically, the over-the-top behavior of many members of the rage mob is often far worse than the behavior that triggered their abuse. Meanwhile, the smug members of the online rage mob feel perfectly justified in joining tens of thousands of other people in egregiously abusing another human being who never intended for the world to know what he was doing.

1. Holly Jones

If you want to actually see the post that ruined someone’s life, here you go.

So, she was a little freaked out by someone dying at the restaurant where she was eating. She got into an argument with a waitress there and given that it was late on New Year’s Eve, would it surprise anyone if she may have had more than a few drinks before she wrote that review on the restaurant’s page? Next thing you know, Holly Jones goes viral. Quite understandably, the restaurant owner dragged her in a savage post that also went viral.

Soon, #HollyJones was trending on Twitter and there were so many nasty phone calls, hate mails, and death threats coming in because of the incident that random women named Holly Jones were getting hit with hundreds. Jones tried the classic “My account was hacked” defense, but few people believed it and she was fired from her job as a hairdresser over the controversy.  To this day, there are still THOUSANDS of articles describing the incident on the Internet.