False Anonymity? Privacy and VSCO

As a communications student, I would consider privacy online to be of utmost importance, and I feel like I know whether or not something fits appropriately on my social media. What I’ve noticed though, within the last few years, is that there are certain social media platforms that maybe entice people into posting more than should be acceptable online.

Photo-editing and sharing app VSCO has gained popularity within the last few years as a way to document edited photographs on one profile, much like a mixture of Instagram and Tumblr. Photos on VSCO can be published to ones page, and then saved and shared on others feeds, so that even if the original post is deleted, it does not go away on the account that initially shared it. A trend I have noticed is that teenage girls in particular will post the links to these accounts in their Instagram bios and post provocative, more explicit photos on these profiles… a behaviour that has become normalized, and I can’t seem to find the reason why.

vsco-share-image

I asked my 16 year old sister, who said that the reason people post more is because less people use the platform and most that do are girls, there is no sense of likes or dislikes or comments, and no heightened possibility of feeling judged. A really great response I got from a 19 year old male friend reads similarly:  “I think that people post different mediums on different platforms due to increased anonymity. If everyone is doing it, it becomes less taboo. If someone was to post a basically nude picture on Instagram, it would stand out due to the lack of others doing the same. Also I think its almost “hipster” or trendy to expose yourself on these comment-less blogs.” My Facebook prompt rendered several similar comments. 

The comment-less part I agree with; it makes sense that people will expose more without direct possibility of negative comments or “likes,” what I don’t understand though is the “anonymity” my friend mentions, as well as my sisters comment that less people use the platform, and most are girls. These statements are simply not true though, because names are almost always attached to these profiles, and whether or not someone is signed up with an account or the link is posted to another social media, anyone can view these posts (even family members).

The idea that different social media outlets are reserved for differing levels of sharing and disclosure, despite equal accessibility from the public is interesting to me, and is an idea that I think we need to be talking about with our younger, more vulnerable social media users. What do you think?

-Shaleigh

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5 thoughts on “False Anonymity? Privacy and VSCO

  1. VSCO is definitely something that needs to be talked about. My 14 year old cousin posts kind of dirty pictures on her VSCO and she acquired a 20 year old stalker doing so. She thought that since her Instagram was private that her other account would be too. VSCO prays on the vulnerable like you said. It’s so important to warn our youth. This is such a great post!

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    1. I’ve also noticed a lot of younger girls posting nearly nude or “racy” photographs on VSCO. It’s almost as if they believe VSCO is a private diary version of Instagram, but that’s insane, cause they can’t even lock the account!
      This is a great blog post, and I think there is a lot to wonder about VSCO.

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  2. I don’t know that I’ve ever actively heard of VSCO before, but from the sounds of it, it’s something we need to educate the younger generation about. Because they don’t necessarily realise the consequences that can come from posting things on social media (even at a young age), they don’t think about the fact that it can come back to them at any time. Excellent post!

    Like

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