Following on from a previous column about one of the bad behaviours that humans and as an obvious extension of that, queer folks, do to each other and it got me thinking about other abhorrent behaviours that technology makes it easier to inflict on each other.
One that immediately sprang to mind was the shockingly easy to initiate and weaponise – Catfishing.
Catfishing – if you haven’t heard of it or been affected by it in any way, you would be in the slim minority as this terrible behaviour, based around general internet trickery, seems to be running rampant right now!
Can Take Up Years Of Someone’s Time
Catfishing can be as simple as someone using fake images on a hookup app to entice a victim into wasting a few hours of their time in sexy chat, within the relative safety of the internet, knowing they have no intention of meeting, hence getting away with using said fake images.
But this behaviour can escalate, enhancing the charade to the extent where it takes up years of someone’s valuable time, thinking they are speaking to the love of their life who just conveniently never seems to be able to make the planned meet-ups. Even extorting money from their ‘partners’ before the canard is exposed for what it is — some person’s idea of a good time, perhaps even enjoying the anguish they have caused once their trickery comes to light.
It’s a cruel variation of ghosting, or perhaps the act of ghosting someone can be the crushing end of the catfishing game, brought suddenly to an end. When a victim is ghosted, the harm, while no less hurtful, has an end, hopefully allowing the chance to heal. Catfishing is the continuance of the game, building to the inevitable, devastating revelation.
And there are so many variations of the con to be on the lookout for! Not to mention the fact that the perpetrators of the hoax can sometimes even be a part of your close social circle, cruelly inflicting the pain and then getting double the thrills because they’re comforting you on one shoulder while emotionally shoulder-charging you with the other!
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