Facebook ate my hamster

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By Dave Ashworth
on 26/3/10

There is no denying that social media is rapidly becoming a part of our everyday lives as we log into Facebook, Twitter etc on a daily basis and to an extent carry out a big part of our work/social life through these mediums.

Yet I’m still surprised by the amount of association that I’ve been reading about of late as Facebook is being cited as a cause of a number of anti social and damaging occurrences.  I know not to take these associations literally, but the way in which these stories are being reported you get the impression that those writing want you to believe social media is the key cause.

First off, and I do not mean to sound glib about any of this, the Telegraph wrote of a link between Facebook and a rise in STDs, namely syphilis, in the North East where it would seem that people have nothing better to do than log in and get laid (admittedly having been there, other than watching football, this is probably true).

Ok, there could well be a link but there are many steps along the way between first contact and a trip to the clap clinic in which the final scenario could be avoided.  Maybe a lack of morals, values and sexual awareness are a bigger catalyst.  I then came across this article in the Daily Mail** about how Facebook increases the chances of cancer!

The word “could” is used 5 times in that article.  Let’s face it, there’s always some doctor banging on somewhere about a link between something trivial and cancer – when I see the Facebook logo on the side of 20 Marlboro lights with a warning, I may take note.

Search Engine Land then ran a few queries through the search engines to see what Facebook’s biggest atrocities were:

Which inspired me to go and find a further collection of stories where it would seem that Facebook was considered the key cause of anti social behaviour, it certainly makes for interesting reading:

The Daily Mail*** tells of a man killing woman after she reveals their break up to friends on Facebook
Ok, it was part of it, but the story itself has far more to it and including Facebook in the headline is, well, very Daily Mail.  Again, I don’t mean to be glib but this quote did amuse me: "The postman told me - he seems to know everything.”

American teen faces 300 years in prison for sexual blackmail via Facebook
“the student posed as a girl on Facebook and tricked at least 31 male classmates into sending him naked photos of themselves”
Again, it’s very very wrong what he did, and I know young people are impressionable, but Facebook was a middle man between a devious mind and naive kids.  This sort of thing was going on long before social media came along, and will still be going on long after it’s gone.

Friend Request Lands Man In Jail
Actually, I don’t believe he did it by accident.  Seems a fair cop to me.

Man almost gets 45 lashes and jail term over pictures published on Facebook
Fortunately though, common sense prevailed and the sentence was overturned.

Prison officer sacked after befriending criminals on Facebook
Reads “Stupidity gets prison officer sacked.”

What does worry me though, is many groups such as this appearing on Facebook:

Because more often than not, it will lead to something like this:

So to wind this one up before I find myself in a tabloid induced state of anger normally reserved for the News Of The World, Facebook clearly is a key aspectin all the above scenarios, but the other common denominator is reckless human behaviour.

To me it would seem the only thing to me that Facebook is guilty of causing is diminished responsibility.

**,*** - I do not read the Daily Mail, I just came across these links when doing my research ****

**** honestly, I don’t