The Streisand Effect Strikes Once Again — Celebrities Can't Escape This Internet Mistake

"Streisand effect! Whenever somebody wants me not to see or hear something, it becomes something I must see and hear," said Christine Anderson.

Alex West - Author

Apr. 1 2024, Published 9:21 a.m. ET

Barbra Streisand performs onstage at United Center
Source: Getty Images

The internet is a very interesting place, and recent sociological phenomena have developed out of it in the same way an in-person community would. One of the most interesting observations online is the Streisand effect.

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If that name sounds familiar, it's because it is. Barbra Streisand plays a major role in this unique occurrence, which, if you're an academic, pairs together communications and archival data. However, there is a much more simple way to look at the Streisand effect, so let's learn more.

Barbra Streisand listens as President Barack Obama speaks during the 2015 Presidential Medal Of Freedom Ceremony at the White House
Source: Getty Images
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What is the Streisand effect?

Essentially, the Streisand effect happens when someone adamantly tries to get something to be removed from the internet, but, as a result, it gets sent around even more. The attention on the fact someone wants it removed is what causes it to spread wider and farther.

An example of this would be Taylor Swift's jets being tracked. Jack Sweeney set up a social media account where he posts, in real-time, where Taylor's private jets are traveling. All of this information is public record, so it was fairly easy for him to obtain.

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Taylor's team noticed that this was happening and became worried that it could affect her safety, though Jack claimed he was doing it for the sake of transparency, especially in regards to carbon emissions.

The singer's legal team sent a cease and desist to Jack who made the entire ordeal public. They wanted him to take down his accounts and promptly stop revealing her location. Since it became known that Taylor wanted the information taken down, more people began to follow the accounts because they became more well known.

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Taylor Swift departs Perth Airport on March 4 2012, in Perth, Australia
Source: Getty Images

Why is it called the Streisand effect?

Barbra Streisand made a grave mistake — trying to get an aerial shot of her house taken down. In her defense, she felt the circulating photo was a bit overbearing and took away what little privacy she had left as an international superstar.

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Once the Internet found out that she wanted it gone, though, they made sure that it was going to be available forever. The more her team pushed and prodded for publications and fan accounts to remove it, the more they saved it and redistributed it.

Much to Barbra's dismay, not only is the photo super easy to find today, but the entire incident resulted in dubbing the effect after her name.

So, now it definitely won't go anywhere because, due to the way that Search Engine Optimization works, even those just curious about the effect's origins will be greeted by a photo of her home.

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Arial shot of Barbra Streisand's home
Source: Kenneth & Gabrielle Adelman via Wikipedia

Another celebrity who fell victim to this situation was Beyoncé. The singer had an unflattering photo of herself taken while she performed live, but the photographer posted it anyway.

According to reports, Beyoncé tried to get that picture taken down... everywhere. Fans wouldn't let her live it down, though, so they saved it and reposted it constantly.

Rumors in the media world actually say that, due to that photo, Beyoncé is extra restrictive of allowing photographers to shoot her show, so getting a photo pass certainly isn't easy.

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