The good and bad of Facebook

Ian Jacques/Editor / Staff writer
August 10, 2012 01:00 AM

Social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter have become the norm in our society. Everyone, it seems, is on either Facebook or Twitter and reliant on both for instant updates on local, provincial, national and world events and keeping up to date on the day-to-day happenings of friends and family.

It's so innocent to post pictures of your friend's birthday party or who or what you are going to see or do on the weekend for all the world to see, but sometimes the information you post can be misconstrued and cause more harm than good.

The staff at the Sechelt Animal Hospital learned that lesson the hard way this week -and learned that lesson through no fault of their own.

Last week Coast Reporter staff writer Ben Ingram wrote about a photograph that resident Becky Wayte posted to Facebook of a horrible illegal dumpsite near Trout Lake. More than 8,000 comments and some 219,000 views were posted to the photo - most outraged by the deplorable act that they saw and calling for Wayte to post information about the alleged perpetrators.

Wayte refused, choosing to pass any information she had to the proper authorities. But somewhere in the thread, there was a mention of a receipt from the Sechelt Animal Hospital. Instead of verifying the information, a viral onslaught took over with people assuming, incorrectly, that Sechelt Animal Hospital was responsible for the dumpsite.

The hostile and threatening phone calls and emails began - some from as far away as California. Through the request of Sechelt Animal Hospital staff, the Facebook thread was removed, but nonetheless, damage had been done.

All it took was something very innocent - one misplaced comment - and a potential reputation of a business, a very good and upstanding business in our community, was almost tarnished.

And this is not the first time where misplaced comments on Facebook or Twitter have caused lots of trouble.

We recall last year in Seattle where a bartender in a popular downtown watering hole was upset at the tip she received from a customer - so much so that she posted the Visa slip on Facebook. Needless to say, the customer was none too pleased as he received threats from the public for treating the bartender unfairly. And how many politicians, movie stars or famous athletes have gotten into trouble because of a misguided photo or verbal posting? Far too many to recall.

Social media is here to stay. It can be a very valuable tool for the sharing of information, but it can also be a detriment. Post what you want, but be wary of the potential consequences that may ensue.


© Coast Reporter

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