The Dangers of Group Chats
If you’re on Impulse there is a good chance you are also in a group chat on WhatsApp or Facebook. These group chats are attractive because of their end-to-end encryption, which means that only the messenger and the individuals in the group receiving the message can see the text messages, photos, and videos sent. However, the pioneering technology that helps to protect the privacy of your group chat doesn’t always help…. and nor should it!
If you are in a group chat remember this: never say anything that you wouldn’t want the whole world to hear you say in person. Sure, encryption stops the government from snooping on your private conversations, but it takes a simple screen-shot and an upload to social media before the whole country knows what your squad have been saying. Most of us just engage in terrible banter in group chats, but those of you who are dumb enough to send hateful or racist messages are simply asking for your messages to be leaked – like these guys below:
The Exeter Group Chat
Last month five Exeter law students participated in a group chat that got them expelled from the law society, removed from the university, and even resulted in a law firm rescinding their offer of employment.
The conversations held in the ‘Dodgy Blokes Soc’ group chat were leaked by one of the group chat members, Arsalan Motavali, revealing a string of racist messages. Although they all expected their hate messages to remain private, their right to privacy is severely weakened when they are actively promoting a ‘race war’ and claiming ‘if they’re black, send em back’. Communication through a screen will not protect you from the negative consequences of negative speech; anonymity is not a right afforded to you by the privacy of a group chat.
The Young Tories Group Chat
Even if you think all your friends have the same mind-set and prejudices as yourself, the dangers of group chats still lurk. For example, last year a WhatsApp group chat between young British Conservatives (with obvious ideological similarities) got leaked, which should have been used as a ‘professional discussion board’ for Tory activists. Instead, some members engaged in targeted hate joking about ‘gassing chavs’, ‘shooting peasants’, and using them to run medical experiments on. Clearly not all members agreed with them and it only took one dissenter to bring national attention to their disturbing messages. Similarly, in your group chats, it only takes one dissenter to reveal your stupid comment even if you didn’t really mean or intend what you said.
Just do yourselves and everyone else a favour by holding back on the clearly questionable chat, and get back to working out how many beers you need to down before heading out to the SU. Simple.