Social media is a great way to express yourself and its an easy way to share your life with your friends, family, and other people you meet along the way. However, with so much exposure and the ease of being able to share something, social media can also be quite dangerous. The five people on this list know that all too well; all of them managed to ruin their lives in just a single posting.
5. Cameron Jankowski
In 2012, 19-year-old Cameron Jankowski of Fort Wayne, Indiana, caught wind of an online trend called #PissOlympics, where people were encouraged to urinate on items while they were at work. Jankowski posted a picture of himself seemingly peeing on a platter of Nachos BellGrande while working at Taco Bell. Jankowski clarified he didn’t feed the platter to anyone and it was headed for the trash.
Jankowski’s Twitter account didn’t display much of his personal information, so members of the hacker group Anonymous tracked down Jankowski and posted a video containing a lot of his personal information.
Jankowski was not only fired from Taco Bell, but he was arrested and was facing serious jail time for violating food regulation laws. Jankowski swore he didn’t really urinate on the nachos. Instead, he claimed it was watered down Mountain Dew and he took a polygraph test to prove it. He passed the test and wasn’t charged. He ended up having problems finding employment for several months afterwards and deeply regrets the posting.
4. Holly Jones
If the internet is good for anything, it’s complaining – especially about businesses that you feel have wronged you. That is exactly what Holly Jones of Indianapolis did around 2:00 am on New Years Day 2016.
Jones and her friends were at Kilroy’s Bar ‘N’ Grill in downtown Indianapolis, and at the end of the night, they went to pay their bill, which was over $700. But there was something wrong with their tab. They tried to get the staff to straighten it out, but the staff was having a problem. Another patron at the bar was having a heart attack and an ambulance was en route.
Not long after paying the bill, Jones went to the bar’s Facebook page and ranted that their night was ruined because she and her friends saw a dead body being wheeled out of the bar. She blamed the restaurant because she thought that the woman was a junkie and they shouldn’t have let her in.
Later, the manager replied to her posting and told Jones that it was a 50-year-old woman who had a heart attack. She didn’t die and she wasn’t a junkie.
The firestorm of criticism was almost immediate and Jones’ posting was reported on news outlets worldwide. Jones started to receive death threats and she deactivated her social media accounts. Then people started going after another Holly Jones who also lived in Indianapolis. The second Holly Jones, who wasn’t related to the Holly Jones who posted the message, got many ugly messages and death threats and eventually had to change her profile picture to a message saying that she was not the Holly Jones who went to Kilroy’s.
Jones (the one who actually posted the awful message, not the innocent one) was a hairdresser and the salon where she worked had their reviews tanked. They posted a message saying that Jones no longer worked there and they donated $500 to the woman who had heart attack.
It is unknown if Jones was able to find employment again.
3. Alicia Ann Lynch
Nailing the perfect Halloween costume can be kind of tricky. Some people want to do something edgy and provocative, but when you do something like that, it’s important to not cross the line and make them too offensive. One person who blew by that line was 22-year-old Alicia Ann Lynch of Michigan.
For Halloween 2013, just six months after the Boston Marathon Bombing, Lynch dressed up like a runner who had been hurt in the bombing and posted it on Twitter and Instagram with the tags #boston #marathon #runner.
The online fury was fast and furious. Soon, she was fired from her job, and not only did she receive death threats, but her parents did as well, and even a complete stranger who lived in the same city and had the same last name as Lynch was harassed. Finally, a blogger found nude pictures of Lynch on a secretive social media account and publicized them.
Lynch deactivated her accounts as soon as the picture of her Halloween costume started to go viral. She reactivated her Twitter account for a short time to ask people to stop harassing her family and to explained that she lost her job. She also apologized several times.
2. Nicole Crowther
Getting work in show business is a difficult feat for anyone, but 21-year-old film student Nicole Crowther was starting to make progress by getting a spot as an extra on the hit TV show Glee in it’s second season, which was filmed in 2011.
In April 2011, Crowther was at a dinner party with another extra who appeared in a different episode of Glee. This other extra was in the 20th episode, called “Prom Queen” and she told Crowther a rumor about the episode. Crowther then posted the following message on her Twitter account to her 2,000 or so followers: K is PQ and KA is PK
The message is cryptic, but fans of the show realized it meant that Kurt Hummel, an openly gay character, would be voted prom queen and David Karofsky, who is Kurt’s longtime bully, would be named Prom King.
Overnight, the tweet went viral and Gleeks around the world lost their collective minds. They weren’t the only ones upset. Co-creater and executive producer of the show Brad Fulchuk tweeted: “@nicolecrowther Hope you’re qualified to do something besides work in entertainment”, and “Who are you to spoil something talented people have spent months to create?”
Crowther was shocked by the reaction, because she didn’t know if the rumor was true or not (spoiler alert: it was true).
Crowther hasn’t worked in the entertainment industry since the tweet. She says that if she had a chance to do it over again, she wouldn’t hit the tweet button. She also advises everyone to think before they post something online.
1. Anthony Weiner
Anthony Weiner was first elected to congress 1998 as representative for New York. Weiner, who was a Democrat, rose to national prominence in July 2010 when he gave an impassioned speech on the House floor supporting health care for 9/11 first responders.
Less than a year later, Weiner tweeted a link to a picture of an erect penis covered with boxer shorts. The tweet was quickly taken down, but blogger Andrew Breitbart later publicized the picture and said the link to the picture was posted on Weiner’s account.
Three days after the tweet, Weiner said that his account was hacked. But then just a week later, Weiner admitted the picture was of him and that he posted the link. He said that he meant to send it privately to a 21-year-old woman in Seattle, Washington.
Weiner also admitted to having sexual conversations with six women on the internet over the course of three years. During that time, he married Huma Abedin, who was an adviser to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. When the scandal broke, Weiner and Abedin were expecting their first child.
As a result of the scandal, the once rising star of the Democrats was forced to resign, but his wife stayed with him.
In May 2013, Weiner announced that he was running for mayor of New York City. It was going to be an uphill battle for him because he had to overcome a sex scandal where he showed off his penis on the internet and his last name is Weiner. Just saying his name invoked the scandal. In the end, he ended up finishing fifth in the mayoral race.
Even though an inappropriate picture ruined his career, Weiner didn’t stop taking them and sending them to women who weren’t his wife. In 2016, it was revealed that in one of the inappropriate pictures, one of his two sons is seen sleeping in the background. This infuriated Abedin, who announced that she would be filing for divorce.
Then in 2017, it came out that Weiner was carrying on an inappropriate online relationship with a 15-year-old girl. He pleaded guilty to transferring obscene material to a minor and he is set to be sentenced in September.