It started with a Tweet and ballooned into a national punchline that highlights the changing face of privacy in the age of social media.
Young Twitter user @itslilisolis recently posted a photo of herself holding an iPhone case with a controversial design emblazoned on it. "I really hope this is the uk flag or otherwise it was a waste of $25," she wrote in the tweet accompanying the pic.
The phone case, tragically, did not feature the U.K. flag, also known as the Union Jack. Instead, the design appears to be fashioned after the image of the Confederate Navy Jack, which from 1863 onward was flown on Confederate ships during the U.S. Civil War.
I really hope this is the uk flag or otherwise it was a waste of $25 twitter.com/itslilisolis/s…
— Lili Solis (@itslilisolis) December 24, 2012
Within days the teen realized that posts on social media sites can be very, very public. Her mistake was retweeted hundreds of times (the total currently stands at 678). What's more, she undoubtedly learned that social media users can be pretty mean, as demonstrated by the following response, apparently triggered by the photo:
— Lili Solis (@itslilisolis) December 31, 2012
The tweet's popularity may also stem in part from the contentious connotations of the flag, which many Americans associate with the South's former Jim Crow segration laws.
To be fair to @itslilisolis, the flag on her iPhone case does share stylistic elements with the U.K. flag, which also incorporates the blue St. Andrew's Cross from Scotland.
It's also possible that @itslilisolis is in good company. A 2010 study by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) showed that American students are deficient in their nation's history, with "only nine percent of fourth graders correctly identifying a photograph of Abraham Lincoln and stating two reasons for his importance."
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post implied that @itslilisolis was from the U.K.