Here’s What to Do If You Find an Embarrassing Video of Yourself on Instagram

After years of laughing at the expense of others, it was my turn to be ridiculed.

Several months ago, I was unwittingly recorded on the London subway looking like a weirdo. I was typing ferociously on my phone, eyes squinted, mouth pressed in an ugly scowl. I looked like a person with anger issues. Making it worse, the video zoomed in on my maddened face.

A recreation of the video of me on SubwayCreatures. The original video was deleted, at my request. 

Taken by a passenger sitting across from me, the video was posted to an Instagram account called SubwayCreatures that has more than 650,000 followers and features people looking strange and mock-able. I fit the bill, as commenters gleefully agreed. 

I would have never known about my moment of internet infamy had I not followed SubwayCreatures myself. I found it good for a laugh—a few days ago, there was a post of a casket being carried through a turnstile—so I recommended it to my sister. Good thing I did. In May, she spotted that video of me while thumbing through Instagram. "You're on SubwayCreatures," she texted. "OMG."

I thought she was messing with me, as siblings do, but checked to be sure—and there I was. I was horrified, bewildered, embarrassed and enraged. "This is crazy," my sister texted again. "And why are you looking like that? Hahahaha."

I immediately asked the guy who runs SubwayCreatures to delete the video, so (thankfully) I can't show it to you. But our editor Brad suggested I recreate a version of that moment for your benefit. Hence the gif above. 

The experience, which is the subject of this week's episode of the Decrypted podcast, ended up teaching me a lot about modern-day privacy and internet etiquette. After years of laughing at the expense of others, it was my turn to be ridiculed. "The watcher," my sister joked, "doesn't like to be watched."


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