How do I know this? Easy, let me give you a real-life example. My brother was recently named the interim director of the Porter County (IN) Animal Shelter. He is being considered for the permanent position and from all reports is doing a great job in his current capacity. Who knows if he will get the permanent position but unfortunately there are some people that have way too much time on their hands. They have a page called Porter County Animal Shelter Watchdogs that they use to “monitor” the shelter and make sure everything is running the way they want it to be run. Hey, I’ve got no problem with that–constructive criticism and suggestions, when used correctly, can definitely improve the quality of the lives of the animals in the shelter.
What’s My Problem?
The page recently posted pictures of court proceedings against a Jonathan J. Thomas in Lake County Indiana along with the text “Please take the time to view the 6 photographs that were just uploaded to this page. The current director, Jon Thomas, is a convicted felon in the State of Indiana.”
My brother’s name is Jonathan D. Thomas and has never lived in Lake County. He is not a convicted felon in the state of Indiana. I reported the page to Facebook as did many of my friends. Facebook says that after they have reviewed the page they will send an email detailing their decision. Well, two weeks have passed and still no information. In addition, after posting comments about their attack, I was removed from being able to comment any more on their page. Many other friends were also banned! So, I can report a page and hope Facebook does something, I can comment and get banned or I could do nothing. Nothing is not an option!
Where’s the Responsibility?
I believe Facebook pages should be held accountable. There is no way to tell who is the admin(s) for this page. Obviously, Facebook doesn’t care and I certainly don’t have the resources to take on Zuckerberg legally. I do have the resources to go after the publishers of this page but first I have to find out who they are! I have made some progress and will continue to track these people down. After looking into current defamation laws, I believe my brother has a great case for libel. Every criteria is met and if you’re interested in the definition and the difference between slander and libel, click here.
How Does This Relate to Education?
I will continue to use Facebook both personally and professionally. However, I believe it is important to know the pitfalls of using any tech tool. This is a great example that educators can use to warn students about what they should and should not post on Facebook. This is a bit extreme, but sometimes the most extreme examples get the attention of students.
The Porter County Animal Shelter has a great Facebook page that you can see here.
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