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Sex, lies and social media

Social media was a big disruptor this week when two unsuspecting co-workers were caught in an after hours tryst that was swiftly broadcast to the world via social media.

Images of the affair quickly spread around New Zealand and the world, with reports indicating the social media fanfare has lead to potential employment issues, marriage break ups and an in-question engagement.

According to various sources, the man caught in the sex romp video is a Marsh Ltd senior insurance manager and is married with children.

It is alleged the man’s wife, not to mention all their friends and family, became privy to the steamy affair just as the rest of the world did – all thanks to Facebook.

Similar reports have said the female involved is a junior office worker in her 20s, and recently engaged.

Not only have the steamy images caused significant damage to the stars’ professional reputations, but their personal lives have arguably been torn apart by the amount of attention the late night sex romp has stirred on various social media networks.

This raises questions about how social media can thrust an individual’s shame and bad decisions into the public eye and have a significant impact on their life when ten, or even five years ago, events like these were more often than not swept under the rug.

Nikkii Flint, an associate at Wellington based law firm O’Sullivan and Associates, says, “This is an excellent example of the effect the internet has had on the way we communicate, the things we communicate about and the effect this new level of accessibility has had on our rights and expectations to privacy.”

She says, “The reality is that in modern society any time we are in any way exposed to the public eye we are exposing ourselves and our behaviour to the risk of profligation via social media.”

According to Flint, “The biggest concerns obviously are that we cannot prevent such publication and that we often do not know it has taken place.”

Social media has resulted in the story going viral, and while their names may not have been publicly released, their place of business and general roles have.

Even if they aren’t fired from their jobs at Marsh, given the publicity of the incident the duo may opt to leave on their own accord rather than stay at a job where their co-workers know of their tryst and its possible consequences.

Regardless of how the matter is dealt with internally, the Marsh employees’ lives have undeniably been changed forever, due to social media. Not to mention the lives of the man’s wife, their children, and the woman’s alleged fiance.