User discretion advised, aka. don’t be a dingbat

Another week, another ‘social media is bad’ news topic. This time it’s Facebook in the media eye, but not for the right reasons.

UK juror Joanne Fraill contacted a defendant on Facebook resulting in her being sentenced to eight months in prison for contempt of court. But why should Facebook be blamed for someones short sightedness (read ‘idiocy’).

British media loves to jump on a topic and strangle it to death until middle England is suitably pitch forked up and marching on Westminster, and target-de-jour is social media which annoys me. First it was Twitter over the Ryan Giggs debacle and now it’s Facebook because someone contacts someone they shouldn’t.

What’s forgotten is that although the platforms people use may well be the enabler, it’s people that are the problem. In the case of Twitter, people were stating what others already knew but they were doing so in a public forum which is where the legal boundary comes in. But you can’t stop people communicating. I would imagine the same issue was discussed via email or down the pub much more than through Twitter.

When it comes to the Facebook case, this is purely ‘misguided’ user error. Would anyone have ever known had the defendant not mentioned it to her solicitor? Probably not, but it sure makes a good tabloid story. And that’s the point – it’s sensationalisation.

Social media is increasingly becoming part of everyday life. It’s a new communication tool; the telephone of this generation. There were many objectors and sensasionalists over that ‘new’ technology, but phone tapping aside it’s an accepted part of our modern framework.

So before blaming the platform, the broadsheets should step back and look at the user. Maybe social media and web training should start in the classroom so future generations aren’t so ‘silly’.

Read more (external links)

Showing 1 comment

  1. simon

    Totally agree. People must realise what they say or do on Facebook or Twitter is public.

Leave a Reply