One of the greatest things about being part of the human race is the freedoms we are given. However, while we enjoy the liberties that we’ve been afforded, some of us forget how lucky we are and take opportunities for granted; there are people in other parts of the world going through so much strife just to get a taste of the quality of life we experience on a daily basis. To bring awareness to this imbalance, the New Zealand branch of Amnesty International – a highly regarded non-profit organization dedicated to protecting our human rights – has come out with Trial By Timeline, an app that taps into your Facebook account and offers you a glimpse of what it’s like to be punished for crimes you are likely to commit or be found guilty of.
Trial By Timeline is designed to use anything you’ve ever said and done on the social networking site against you and dishes out a sentencing of sorts, as if you are a criminal being tried and punished for doing certain things any free person would do. It analyzes all your posts, photos, affiliations, pages you’ve liked, and “interrogates” some of your contacts.
After a few minutes of waiting for the app to analyze my Facebook profile, I was led to an animation of my “punishable acts” that was a bit horrifying to witness – imagine being tortured in Saudi Arabia for going on a Las Vegas vacation with an unrelated male friend. According to Trial By Timeline and my Facebook content, I have 142 convictions for seven crimes in 70 countries. I would have suffered multiple beatings and experienced torture repeatedly for simply being a female (beaten in Algeria, tortured in Pakistan), having a job in the media (beaten in Montenegro, tortured in Turkmenistan), and participating in a form of activism (beaten in Indonesia, tortured in India) – even if it’s something as mild as supporting a fight for rights of independent film. I would have been beaten, tortured, and imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for socializing with an unrelated male. In Myanmar, I would have been tortured and imprisoned by simply having a Facebook account.
That’s not all. I would also have been lashed at in Qatar for enjoying a beer or two and in Indonesia for playing 25-cent blackjack. My other punishments include mutilation (for being a female), sexual assault (for being a female, again), persecution (for being an editor in my college paper), and being killed by extremists (for being a female involved in the media who believes in a bit of political activism). At this point I am glad that I didn’t get results that would warrant being beheaded, shot dead, stoned, hanged, or subject to lethal injection, but other people have gone through all of those, in parts that aren’t as free as the place we call home.
This app is the rude awakening we all need to get in order to appreciate the life that we’ve grown accustomed to. The next time you feel the need to complain about some mundane mishap that ruined your day, run your Facebook account through Trial By Timeline and see what it’s like for those who aren’t as lucky as many of us are.