The arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell is both a key development in an unusual legal case and an illustration of the perils of high-risk connections in the social media age.
Maxwell, a former manager and girlfriend to financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested in New Hampshire nearly a year after he died in a police cell.
Epstein, who knew many famous people from the political, science, entertainment and business worlds - including two United States presidents and a British royal - was awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.
Prosecutors in New York claim Maxwell recruited teenage girls, whom Epstein allegedly abused. She has been charged with sex crimes and perjury.
Maxwell, who denies involvement in any crimes, is an key figure considering the offences alleged and the high-profile people the pair socialised with.
Old photographs have emerged in the past few days of Maxwell and Epstein with US President Donald Trump, with Harvey Weinstein, and of the British socialite at Chelsea Clinton's wedding.
The Daily Telegraph ran a photograph of Maxwell and actor Kevin Spacey sitting in the throne room at Buckingham Palace in 2002. It was reportedly taken during a private tour organised by the Duke of York for former US President Bill Clinton.
Prince Andrew is under pressure from New York prosecutors seeking information about his friendship with Epstein, and specifically about claims made by an alleged victim. A formal request for the Duke to speak to them has now been made. He denies wrongdoing.
Maxwell, the daughter of former British media mogul Robert Maxwell, has known the Duke for years and introduced him to Epstein.
In some ways, the case is a glimpse into the networking ways of the elite, wealthy, influential and powerful. Names and money open doors in such circles and bridge normal political tribalism.
But in the social media era, evidence of links to someone accused of serious crimes can immediately be spread to millions of strangers, sometimes without context.
Reputations can quickly be tarnished by any such connection, whether that is fair or not. The meeting may have been years ago. The person being judged may not have known of any dubious behaviour.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk quickly denied knowing Maxwell after a photo surfaced from a 2014 Oscars party, saying "she photobombed me once".
Generally, the amplification of opinions, consumer clout and activism through social media these days has personal, social, political, and business consequences.
Ironically, Facebook is itself the target of an advertising boycott by hundreds of companies over the monitoring of hate speech on the network.
#MeToo showed that public online pressure can be too big to be ignored. The climate change student protests linked online organisation and inspiration to millions marching around the globe.
This year, both the coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement demonstrated how inter-connected we are and how companies need to be particularly nimble these days to adapt to wind shifts in debate. Every year the power of collective public opinion grows and forces people and companies to scramble to get on the majority side.
"Read the room" can be both a Twitter troll and a warning to those trying to survive in the public eye. No one, no matter how hard-won their reputation, is too big to fall foul of mass digital disapproval, as JK Rowling has recently found.
Maxwell's arrest will be making a number of people nervous.
Her case, like Epstein's was, is being handled by the Southern District of New York's Public Corruption Unit. It deals with fraud, political corruption and organised crime.
Which suggests there may still be bigger fish to fry than Maxwell.