The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
In the past few weeks, something popped up on the Snapchat radar for students at Miami. At first, few of us knew about the account "redhawksnap." Then word spread as it usually does: word of mouth, social media posts, group chats among friends and so on.
The account shows presumed Miami students engaged in all sorts of activities; photos and videos that feature drinking, drug use and nudity are visible to anyone who adds redhawksnap as a friend.
While we at The Miami Student cannot confirm the identity of those featured in the account's photos and videos, some images are blatantly at Miami University. The user clearly seeks to showcase Miami culture.
Snapchat is a tricky form of social media since posts "disappear" after a certain amount of time and only our Snapchat friends can see them. It's easy to think that because only certain people can see our posts, and because they all get deleted relatively quickly, that Snapchat has no repercussions.
This is where we're all wrong, and why redhawksnap is so troublesome to the Editorial Board.
We all have freedom to post what we choose on social media. If we have the app, it's our choice whether our Snap Story is a filtered shot of central quad on a sunny day or a loud, poorly lit video from Brick Street the night before. These are our actions and decisions.
But these actions and decisions have repercussions beyond ourselves sometimes, and that's where redhawksnap comes into play. Any one of us could easily take a photo of anyone on campus whenever we want. That could constitute an invasion of privacy, and when posted to social media, it can have far-reaching effects.
We don't know if the people featured on redhawksnap submitted themselves, but we're willing to bet that the person chugging a beer didn't know their friend had recorded them and submitted them to an account that the whole school and more could see.
Friend A who recorded Friend B was probably thinking it was a funny joke to make a video of underage drinking merriment. They sent it out on Snapchat and forgot all about it, because, why wouldn't they? Most recipients of the video probably laughed about it and moved on with their day, and that was that.
But what if one recipient of the video recorded it, since there are numerous apps now that allow Snapchat videos and pictures to be recorded and saved? That recipient could cause Friend B any number of problems by having a video of them illegally drinking. Friend A never intended that to happen, but it did.
The Editorial Board sees this as a huge issue, because making careless and immature decisions on social media can harm our friends even if we don't mean for it to happen.
Whoever runs redhawksnap has hundreds of images and videos at their disposal to incriminate any number of students.We're not saying they should or that they would wreak havoc, but the fact that they could is concerning enough.
Some of the images featured on the account aren't even cause for punishment. A photo of a kid sitting on a bench with the caption "scrub" isn't illegal or dangerous. But that's still a photo, taken without consent, mocking an individual who is unaware. Where is the love or honor in that?
People need to think twice before posting videos and photos of others without their permission, and before submitting these things to extremely public accounts like redhawksnap.
Our online presence is as much a reflection of ourselves as our real life actions. It might seem childish to say "treat others as you would want to be treated," but if you wouldn't want a photo of yourself breaking laws visible to friends and professors then why would you do that to someone else?