Facebook vigilante, that’s what I call people who use social online sites to assault targets verbally.
Using Facebook for these activities accomplishes two objectives:
One, it provides people with an audience they know will validate their opinions and urge them on. Those “friends” who don’t agree will likely remain silent out of fear of retaliation or the dreaded “block” option that some seem to fear.
Two, it eliminates any opportunity for the target to defend themselves. When or if the target does find out about what’s being said about them, lost is any opportunity for that person to stop the firestorm that was intentionally created.
When people turn to their Facebook page to bash others, comments can be cruel, unjust, and downright heartless. There are no rules on Facebook, no etiquette for conduct. It’s anything goes and sometimes, the nastier the comment the more approval that person gets. Very little consideration is given to the person under attack.
I’ve been the victim of so many of those hurtful Facebook vigilante attacks that I’ve lost count. Regardless, I can add one more to the list. I’ve been accused of not caring that law enforcement officers risk their lives – or something to that effect.
The allegation was based on nothing more than me giving a glimpse into my Valentine’s Day activities. It was my day from my perspective, nothing more. Yet, every sentence was scrutinized and twisted to mean something negative against the officers and even their new SUVs.
I was clueless as to what was being unjustly and inaccurately said about me on Facebook until a friend told me about it. Characterizing me as a heartless person who cares nothing about law enforcement officers … well, nothing could be further from the truth.
So, then, how do you effectively defend yourself against Facebook vigilante attacks?
First, I thought about writing a column and outlining all the instances in my life that would, without a doubt, convince people that the untruth told about me was just that. Second, I thought about writing a column defending myself against specific comments made on Facebook. In the end, I decided against both.
My reasoning: my contact information is at the bottom of every column. Why should I justify my statements to someone who didn’t pick up the phone and call me? Rather, they turned to Facebook and started bashing. It is almost impossible to defend yourself effectively against these type of attacks.
If you’ve been bullied, harassed or attacked on Facebook, you have my sympathies. I, for one, know how it feels.
I stand by what I said in my column and the spirit in which it was intended – a brief insight into my day. If someone wants to take those words and twist them into something negative against law enforcement officers, they can. Facebook provides the perfect venue.
Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.