Dear Snarky – My Cousin Violated Our Family Privacy for TikTok Fame

Dear Snarky,

I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry at a family member. My grandparents have a lake house that the entire extended family uses so in the summer we are all together a lot. Sometimes there can be a dozen or more people staying at the house. 

We all recently discovered that my cousin has been recording a lot of what happens at the lake house. We all love each other but there’s been some heated discussions and you know the regular stuff (drinking a lot) that happens when families get together but you would hope no one would ever see.

This cousin then unbeknownst to any family member put some of the arguments and drunken antics on her stupid TikTok. 

Basically, it’s not anything you would want on social media. Most of us are adults with jobs and we try to be careful what we post.

The entire family came down on this cousin – hard – and told her to take everything down that had any family member in it without their permission. She refused because she said the posts were making her “TikTok famous.”

What can we do to get her to delete the videos? We all feel like our privacy has been invaded and I personally live in fear of my boss seeing some of the cringey stuff that was posted. 

Signed, Shocked 

Dear Shocked,

I feel your pain. When you’re at your grandparents lake house with family one would think a certain degree of privacy is implied. I don’t imagine there’s many people whose behavior is constantly above reproach and upon finding out that they were secretly recorded would be, “Great, post whatever you want.”

The fact that together as a family you couldn’t get your cousin to delete the videos is concerning. There are many other avenues to pursue like contacting TikTok but I think we all know how slow these big social media companies are to respond to these kinds of inquiries.

This is why I’m going to suggest getting an attorney. I don’t know where you live but each state has their own privacy rules and your cousin might have violated some of them.

 Also, an attorney lets your cousin know that your family is taking your privacy being violated very seriously and you aren’t afraid to pursue aggressive legal actions to get the videos deleted.

My final advice is to steer clear of this cousin and only deal with her through a legal representative. Here’s why – because I’m fairly certain “Ms. TikTok Famous” will use your family’s anger to build her following. But if she doesn’t have any video or text and email messages of your family being upset with her to share that will be harder to do.

Even if this issue gets resolved (and I sincerely hope it does) I would be wary of welcoming this cousin back into your life with open arms. She’s violated your family’s privacy and trust for something as fleeting as social media hits and I think that might be bordering on unforgivable.


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