I’m about to share a tale with you. My daughter told me about this, and I have no verification of it other than my daughter saying that she saw multiple accounts on TikTok. For the record, I don’t give a flying rats bottom about TikTok…. Whether or not this story is true, I thought it was pretty interesting for a discussion, as to privacy and such.

The Story:

A couple (man and woman) were at a sporting event. They were obviously partners based on the conversation that was overheard by the people behind them.

During the course of the sporting event, the people behind them saw the man sending anatomy pictures to someone else. (he was getting responses to the pictures and it wasn’t from the woman sitting next to him.)

The next day, the people behind them reached out on social media to find the woman who was in front of them. They included seat locations, event title and I think they figured out the woman’s name. In the message on social media, they shared a picture they had snapped of the guys phone to say that he was cheating on his partner.

Apparently the woman was found, but I have no idea about the ever afters.

As we were talking about privacy last week…

Do you read over people’s shoulders? (back when there were actual newspapers that people read on mass transit, there was a joke that you couldn’t get off at your stop if your seatmate was still reading your paper)

Have you ever been out and looked at someone’s phone, tablet, computer or notebook? I know if I see someone with a handwritten TO DO list I can’t help but sneak a peak…

If you saw something that bothered you while reading someone else’s device, what would you do?

Is it right for someone to get involved in the personal life of another, when they have absolutely no idea about the particulars?

Are the people shaming the others doing it for the good of the sisterhood, or are they just trying to go viral?

If you’re out and about, should you be displaying anything that you don’t want read?

My friend’s son is currently going for his MSW, which includes clinic hours with sensitive information. He didn’t want to do his work on the train from the city to his parent’s house as he said he was dealing with client files. Have you ever done work with sensitive documents in a public location? (I know my husband can’t randomly set up his computer on any network at a Starbucks or such- it has to pass some sort of network sensitivity test to avoid private data being on a public network- and people reading over your shoulder)]

I freely admit that I am an eavesdropper. 100%. I figure if someone is talking loudly enough for me to hear it, the information is no longer private. But is hearing something different because you aren’t actively looking for it?

Where do we stand on reading someone’s phone or such? Where do we stand on public shaming? What is and isn’t our business?

64 thoughts on “Tik Tok Busted

  1. I have looked at the headlines on newspapers held by other people on the subway. But that’s generic. If I happened to see someone’s phone screen, I wouldn’t get involved. Poking into a stranger’s life when you don’t know context…. Why do it?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. What an interesting post. I am an eavesdropper as well, LA. It’s one of the things I missed about the pandemic – sitting in a coffee shop and overhearing what other people were talking about. It creates the seed of a story in my head.

    But I think getting involved is not my business because there is too much room for error or unkindness. Unless it’s an act of terrorism or public safety.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. People need to mind their own business. The only exception is if you are out a s see someone who appears distressed or afraid or bullied. Then they should contact police and take a phone photo .

    Liked by 2 people

  4. That scenario goes way beyond the concept of “helping” I think. So far beyond for obvious reasons! While possibly hearing some of their personal conversations was inadvertent in that situation, none of after actions were. We all see or hear things inadvertently. That can’t be helped sometimes. We don’t have any good reason to go farther than that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree. I think it comes down to the righteousness of youth, and an open platform to reach other people. It’s a dangerous combination…especially about a group we don’t want to call adults


  5. “Anatomy pics”🤣🤣
    My thoughts are that if the guy was dumb enough to send them in public, knowing there were people behind him, he deserved to get busted. That’s just stupid. There is no expectation of privacy in a public place.
    Being the obnoxious creature that I am, I would probably have made cutting remarks about small d**ks in a very loud voice. He would have known he was busted!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My guess is his wife/partner knew. And this might embarrass her more, and their kids. I wouldn’t hurt the innocent bystanders in this situation. Not worth it. Plus, we really don’t know if he was actually sending pictures to his wife, and the person next to him was the girlfriend

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I must admit that I listen to conversations, especially at events like baseball games or concerts. It’s kind of hard not to when you are sitting so close. If someone is on their phone I may or may not glance at it but certainly would not get involved. But, I’m an introvert. My husband on the other hand will frequently get into a conversation if he overhears something that he’d like to weigh in on (almost everything – LOL). To put something like that out there on social media? No way. I could not do a lot of my typing work in public spots. HIPPA you know. I could get in serious trouble.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Totally get you not typing in public spots. I always wonder about people working in public locations…and how safe it is….and now if companies go virtual, how secure is anything

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In all the years I’ve been typing from home (22 now) I’ve never had to give any proof of protection but did have to sign HIPPA agreements when they first came out. Last year when I took on UCSF as a client I actually had to get business insurance to cover privacy issues.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I tell you right now, I’m reading your phone,tablet, laptop, to do list and everything else. I am so interested and invested in the world around. However, I will not judge because after all I’m the one with the problem! LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can understand accidentally seeing something you aren’t supposed to, especially in a situation where you are in a stadium seating setting as you cannot help but look over another person’s shoulder. In the event you described, if they were legitimately concerned for the woman, they should have confronted her at the event (yes, I get that may not have been possible if the man never left his seat), but to do so publicly like that seems invasive, especially considering the subject matter.

    As for intentionally reading something on another person’s device, I think that is wrong. Accidents happen, as I said, but to intentionally look is another. Just because it is there, doesn’t mean you have a right to look at it. Think of it like a men’s restroom. You may see parts that aren’t normally seen, but you absolutely shouldn’t go in looking for those parts or stare at them when they come out.

    Sensitive information should absolutely never be looked at in a setting where it could inadvertently be seen by someone that shouldn’t see it. Most people that have access to that kind of information usually have rules or security around handling that kind of information and that alone should tell them that it isn’t smart, because, again, accidents do happen. And so do extremely nosy people.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I agree with you. I’d stay out of that scenario. It reminds me of when we had my dad over to watch a football game. He asked to borrow my husband’s laptop to look something up and then he went through my husband’s email!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Good topic, as for the people behind them, they are “just trying to go viral.” It is all fine well and good as long as they feel they have the higher moral ground. But really, the alleged guy is stupid if this is true and it is only a matter of time before the wifey/spouse/significant other finds out on her own. Suppose one of them was chatting trash about a friend and the person behind them did the same…. I’m willing to bet they would feel different, possibly even violated? I like to refer to these people as the “do gooders” They feel a moral responsibility to act when they have no obligation or right to stick their nose into something, a feeling of righteousness while immune to reciprocations of their actions.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think young people always think they are right. And this isn’t just millennials and gen z…it’s every generation of young people…the problem is, now these kids have an open forum. Just like they’re not really adults at 18, they’re not really right aboit everything either

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m not sure what it is about social media that makes people think they have a license to overstep boundaries. To me, this was a huge overstep since they didn’t know the context and it was none of their business. Even it it was exactly what they thought it was, it’s not their story to tell. They can try and take the moral high ground to try and justify what they did, but in the end, they are just being nosey.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I think the only time I glanced at what someone was looking at was when I used the public library computers to access the internet and the guy next to me was checking out porn. I think after this incident the library implemented anti porn access. But yeah this creeper did it around children.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Creepy and slimy–on the part of the sexting man and the over the shoulder looker. I did just discover a silver lining to being hard of hearing. Even with hearing aids, I wouldn’t be able to understand someone’s conversation nearby. So, no temptation to eavesdrop!🙃

    Liked by 1 person

  14. That whole story is an example of our culture’s decline. Ugh. The fact is we are being watched so we need to stop doing stupid shit if we don’t want to get caught, or maybe just because it’s not right!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. too many people don’t pay attention to their immediate surroundings. I always assume that someone is watching me or could be watching me. don’t put your stuff out there where anyone can look at it.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I have sometimes looked at something I shouldn’t have, when curiosity got the better of me. But I would never put someone else’s information on the internet for all the world to see! How did those people know that the woman in question wasn’t perfectly aware that her partner was cheating? Maybe she didn’t care…but it doesn’t really matter, that was still a terrible invasion of her privacy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was my thought…how do they know what the woman knows. All they did was embarrass the woman probably more than the man, and if they have kids, they get thrown in the mix

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I have to say that there is no excuse for what that couple did to that poor woman, by making it public about what her guy was looking at. It was none of their business. Now if they happened to see it, I am not blaming them for it can be easy to see some things without trying, just like hearing things. BUT … to interfere with that couple’s private life crossed the line, in my opinion. The woman could have very well known what he was doing and it may be a source of pain for her and now this couple felt like they had to broadcast it?!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m an eavesdropper for sure but I don’t enter the conversation or try and shame someone unless a child is at risk. Or maybe a dog? We live in interesting times and things are not going to get better I fear, C

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Sometimes that information is lost on layers! if you are protecting yourself or an individual sometimes the aiming defines a vulnerability or empowers the receiver! The perceived aim could be seen as the salvation, a branch to protect the deceived on all sides! Legality says its private unless they are benefitting from their illicit actions at your or another’s cost!

    Liked by 1 person

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