Archived Story

Editorial: Think before you post

Published 9:28pm Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Facebook has grown from an online amusement to a necessity of life for many people since it was launched in 2004.

According to Facebook, it claimed to have 901 million monthly active users at the end of March. An average of 3.2 billion “likes” and comments were generated by Facebook users per day during the first quarter of 2012. Facebook users transcend age, gender and race.

One thing about Facebook — it doesn’t come with an ethics manual. Postings considered inappropriate eight years ago on the social networking site are now the norm.

Some local news stories lately have quickly generated activity on Facebook, and not in a good way.

Michigan National Guardsmen of the 1-126th Calvary National Guard unit, based in Dowagiac, were injured last month in Afghanistan.

One can imagine the soldiers’ families’ horror when logging onto Facebook to find the rumor mill turning out a slew of gossip about the victims — much of it untrue. Facebook users wanted to be the “first” with what they thought was the news. In reality, it angered some family and friends close to the soldiers who knew the true account of what happened.

Another example is the story of 16-year-old Buchanan student Dilan Shearer, who died in a car wreck Sunday. Before the accident scene was even evacuated, people were posting “news” about the crash — some of it not even close to the truth, from accounts of multiple teens in the car, to allegations Shearer was driving drunk.

We tend to reveal our lives on Facebook through status updates, comments and photos. Facebook allows users to literally be an open book.

Think twice before rushing to post about serious events when people’s lives are involved. Put yourself in other’s shoes. You may not know the whole story, and the consequences cannot be reversed.

This editorial represents the views of the editorial board.

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