Call Kristen Stewart a little paranoid. But after cheating on her heartthrob boyfriend and Twilight co-star, Robert Pattinson, the young actress instantly shot to the top of many people's shit list. Imagine tens of thousands of people you've never met wanting to spit on you...
No wonder the 22 year old, now reunited with her beau, worries that her haters are out to get her—and that social media platforms like Twitter will make it all to easy for them to track her down and bump her off. And you only have to look at what happened to Amanda Todd to realize just how real the threat of faceless cyberbullying has become, even when you're not a famous Hollywood actress.
According to an article in the Huffington Post, though KStew claims social media is "really great," she says in the same breath that mainly it is a scary and potent force. Hence why, unlike so many celebs, neither she and her bloke has a Twitter account. Given her PR record, I have to say this is a surprisingly sage move on her part.
"Nowadays it's harder because everyone is on Facebook and everyone knows where you are all the time, and everyone's twittering," said Stewart in the e-book, "Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner - In Their Own Words" by Talia Soghomonion. "Like I'm going to die because somebody is going to say where I am and somebody is going to kill me. Someone's going to Twitter my location and then it's going to be like, boom."
Boom, indeed. At first read, her paranoia seems unfounded. But consider just how obsessive some Twihard fans are, having stalked the book setting of Forks. Then consider the sad story of Todd, who was driven to her death by cyberbullies.
But at least some good is trickling out of Todd's tragedy. An article by the Star exposed Justin Hutchings. Having made a callous comment on a memorial site after her death, Hutchings was later tracked down via Facebook and fired from his job. And the 30-year-old troll who pushed Todd to her last despairing act? He too was outed by "hactivists" on a site called Anonymous, which leaked his personal details around the net.
Clearly, social media is a force to be reckoned with; reputations are built in a few key strokes and just as quickly destroyed. Where bullying is concerned, a hard line is the only approach. People may be invisible behind their screens, yet they must be accountable. And yes, Kristen. That means you're probably right to watch your back.
Do you think the internet compromises personal safety, doing more harm than good? Do you consider your public reputation when you post a comment online?