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Personal privacy in an age of social media

28th November 2013

The evolution of social media over the last ten years has meant that, unless people are very careful, their private life is gradually becoming a lot less private. The photos uploaded onto Facebook of us and our beloveds effectively belong to Mark Zuckerberg and co.

Last week, relationship privacy took another step closer to the grave, with the first ever live breakup being publicised on Twitter. New York-based comedian Kyle Ayers documented the relationship breakdown of a young couple on an apartment rooftop who, unfortunately for them, apparently interrupted his evening of simply enjoying the view.

The Twittersphere subsequently enjoyed over 50 tweets from Ayers who enlightened his followers with a blow-by-blow account of the emotional drama, including the unequivocal Rachel is walking away. In general, the world of Twitter found the roof breakup chronicle entertaining and harmless. But with #roofbreakup trending as far as South Africa, and 3,000 tweets being generated by the saga, does emotional voyeurism now know no bounds?

These days, people are conscious that their relationship status forms part of their social media profile, and the explosion of social media has inevitably meant that Facebook relationship statuses are updated a few minutes after the final door has slammed or a few hours after the ring has been placed on the finger. After last week, it is clear that salacious human interest stories are transferable from one pair of eyes to the rest of the world, and with no real privacy control over what is posted on social media, these human interest stories are only going to increase.

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