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Images have been “going viral” since long before the internet, but the social media boom we’re experiencing in the digital age has made the spread of information greater. While this can be a great opportunity for businesses trying to cash in on the craze, if it’s done wrong, it can be disastrous enough to not only ruin online reputations but to ruin entire lives.
Here are five images that have gone viral for all the wrong reasons:
As recent as last week, the bathing suit company Sunny Co experienced what one could definitely agree was a gaffe. Urging Instagram users to repost and tag this image of a girl in a bathing suit in order to receive a free (read: you pay the cost of shipping) version of the suit, Sunny Co. didn’t quite realize what they were getting themselves into.
Within a few hours, the image garnered so many reposts that the company was forced to stop giving the suits away and has faced backlashes from customers.
On August 31st of 2014, several celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Mary Elisabeth Winstead, Kaley Cuoco, and Kate Upton had private (read: nude) images of themselves stolen by hackers and posted all over the internet. Within moments of that news breaking, sites like 4chan and Reddit instantly pounced on the photos and thousands of people all over the world got their greasy hands and ill intentions all over them.
Despite going to the law, these pictures are still up and able to be perused, much to the chagrin of the victims. Now, this kind of theft doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does happen it can be equal parts humiliating and threatening.
Remember this rather unflattering (albeit hilarious) photo of Beyonce from the 2013 Superbowl? Well, Queen Bey apparently hated it so much that she had her publicist and lawyers send emails, desperately trying to take down the photo. With the damage done, (should’ve used our services, your majesty!) Beyonce used that as a reason to hire her own personal concert photographer, and now she has nothing but flattering pictures to release to the public.
We still remember, though. Own it, Queen!
In this turbulent and trying political and socioeconomic climate, Pepsi thought that they would throw their hand in with a little ray of sunshine of their own: having Kendall Jenner stop a protest by handing a police officer a can of Pepsi. Within moments of the ad airing, Twitter was abuzz with people responding angrily to the controversy.
Whether or not Pepsi meant any harm, the damage was done, and the ad was quickly pulled, leaving Kendall Jenner to slink back into doing whatever it is she does for a day job.
Way back in 2015, a dentist named Walter Palmer made one of the worst mistakes of his life. Wanting to hunt a lion, he reportedly paid $50,000 (USD) to a couple of men who then baited and lured Cecil, a beloved lion that frequented the Hwange National Park, to his death. Even though photos of the actual killing never went viral, people quickly pounced on Palmer, releasing his information and past hunting photos to the public.
Palmer was quickly lynched in the media, receiving death threats and sustaining property damage from people angry about the unjust killing of a well-loved animal. Whether or not you think Palmer deserved this kind of treatment, he sure got a lot of it.
A lot of these viral images started small and with good intentions, which the road to hell is definitely paved in. They stand as a testament to the digital age, a brief glimpse into a single moment in time. Here at socialcatfish.com, we care a lot about your tiny little moments. We laugh with you, we cry with you, and we celebrate your ups, just as we stand by your side for the downs.
Don’t let a little moment destroy your life. Using our reverse image search, you can type a few words into the search bar and find out just who may be accessing and misusing your pictures. We’ll help you find, locate, and stop whatever may be happening before it gains enough traction to land you at number six on our next list.