The old saying that ‘information is power’ is true, except when it’s the wrong information. Among other things social networking allows communication to large numbers of people by one single individual. A very cool feature indeed but with that comes a responsibility (at least as far as I am concerned) that the personal information posted about other people is correct.
Last week I received a message from a friend noting that there was some less than flattering buzz going around on Facebook regarding something my wife was being accused of doing (she didn’t). Apparently someone we do not know had been ‘wronged’ and tracked the wrongdoer to a physical address – in fact the address where we used to live, having moved out three months ago. The affronted party got the home address from the police and checked it in a reverse lookup. Of course we were still listed as living at our old address as records are not always updated promptly – no surprise there. It went downhill from
Thinking that the offending party had been found out this person went on a social network and began to post a vitriolic rant on how my wife was a terrible and horrible person and that the police were involved. Naturally my wonderful wife was shocked and had no idea what was going on – at least not at first. By piecing things together she was finally able to figure out what took place.
My wife tracked down and contacted the person who had been posting the incorrect information. She received a lukewarm apology but without any or at least enough contrition.
You’d think that a person would be horrified at erroneously accusing an innocent person of wrongdoing in a public forum like a social network. But the idea of going public in the first place to embarrass someone due to a personal grudge is unfortunately not all that uncommon these days.
What I am suggesting is that if you are going to go the route of publicly calling out someone for wrongdoing in a social network or other public forum – AT LEAST GET IT RIGHT! But in my opinion better if you don’t do it at all and approach the person one to one first. If then you are not satisfied and want to go public – do it at your own risk.