Huffington Post

The Importance of Visual Anonymity and Viral Videos

WITNESS’ Madeleine Bair appeared on HuffPost Live to discuss issues of anonymity in online media. In particular, how do we preserve visual anonymity for human rights activists and simultaneously protect victims of viral video abuse?

The issue comes on the heals of a recently uploaded video from Russia that went viral. In it, a 15-year-old boy is harassed for his alleged homosexuality. On the WITNESS blog, Madeleine wrote:

Where does a video like this fall in the spectrum of human rights video? It documents abuse, but simultaneously inflicts it. That leaves human rights activists in a tough place. The same video that was originally circulated by Russian neo-Nazi sites is now being circulated by LGBT activists and news outlets worldwide. It has been uploaded to a half dozen YouTube channels, and translated into various languages. BuzzFeed, Gawker, and the Huffington Post have embedded the video in articles discussing the alarming rise of homophobic violence in Russia, just weeks after a new law criminalizes homosexuality.

You can view the archived episode of Visual Anonymity and Viral Videos on HuffPost Live.


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