When Secrets Go Viral

From spanking to bullying, intimate conflicts pose social-media conundrums

Illustration by Shout for TIME

John Cloud. When Secrets Go Viral. Illustration by Shout for TIME

Because we usually operate social-media sites on screens, we tend to imagine them as displays onto whole new worlds. But when it comes to intimate family matters, they may be not so much displays as little crosshatch windows. You can pass a neighbor's house and see a couple screaming at each other, but you have no idea what happens when they get upstairs and either make up or start throwing lamps.

Consider the case of William Adams, the "spanking" judge in Texas. Seven years ago, the family-court judge and his then wife repeatedly whipped their wailing daughter Hillary, who was 16....

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