I thought I could get past this story without getting angry but I was wrong. The Rehtaeh Parsons tragedy is gaining visibility and iOneChat.com has closed its doors. Well, at least under that brand. I predict it will simply re-open under another name and resume these practices of running ads with stolen photos just like you see with the other dating sites.
While I’m thrilled to see the story getting the attention it deserves, I still feel that folks are missing part of the bigger picture. The Parsons story of sexual assault and cyber-bullying is tragic and she isn’t alone. College student Eve Carson went missing and was found dead. Her picture later ended up on a billboard in India promoting studies abroad. Again, both stories are horrific on their own but were made worse by companies who stole photos just because they were posted online. How does this happen? Simple. Just read what Anh Dung, iOneChat.com web admin, had to say…
“I simply used a tool to scrape images randomly on Google Images and inserted it into the [Facebook] ad campaign.”
THIS, is the other part that irks me. I’ve written about it before and here we are again. Google Images allows right-clicking so most people feel OK downloading pictures off of the internet even when it’s obviously wrong. You know who else allows almost anyone to download photos? Facebook. They not only allow right-clicking but actually provide a download button to make it easier.
So, yeah, this is what really frustrates me. Both Google Images and Facebook are off the hook on this instance, again. They are enablers. They literally provide nearly unlimited photo content for the “stealing” when all they have to do is disable right-clicking or change the process slightly for downloading pics. Maybe someone at Google or Facebook will read this one-day and decide to do something about it. Until then, maybe you can get frustrated with me and help educate others by increasing visibility on the topic. I know I’m not alone here, right? Let’s tell Facebook AND Google Images to stop taking part in tragedies such as these. They too are at fault.
— Kevin (@kevinGEEdavis)