Imagine yourself in Times Square, New York. You’re on a trip with your sister. Flashing billboards, cart vendors, and street performers seek your attention. A member of a nearby dance troupe breaks formation to approach you, touching your shoulder and requesting a high five. Feeling uncomfortable, you refuse, rubbing your shoulder. Then, you start to cry.You don’t know it at this moment, but you’re being recorded. Someone has their phone out, capturing the whole interaction without saying a word. This stranger then uploads it to TikTok, where it goes viral with over 400,000 views before it’s taken down. You’re mocked mercilessly in the comments for your reaction. Some accuse you of being racist: you are white, and the person who asked for the high five is Black. On TikTok, you are no longer you. Instead, you’ve become a search term: “girl crying in Times Square.” With the rise of social media and smartphones, videos of people’s real-time reactions to situations in public places have become synonymous with online platforms; easily shared and normalised as viral content. Videos like the aforementioned Times Square clip trend at speed on platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and X (formerly known as Twitter), prompting not only likes and views, but harassment, discourse, and invasive sleuthing of the videos’ often unaware subjects, regardless of the original poster’s intent. “On TikTok, you are no longer you. Instead, you’ve become a search term: ‘girl crying in Times Square.'” Dealing with humiliating and often devastating consequences after being filmed in…When did it become OK to film strangers in public?