Recently, one of my friends expressed (by Facebook) that she was glad we didn’t have Facebook when she was young enough to post her stupid mistakes for the world to see. I believe most of us who grew up without the popular website would agree.
But worse than the embarrassing photos that get revealed or the arguments between friends that can escalate via its internet turf, Facebook has been used by some twisted individuals to terrorize and murder. Disturbing status’s are now a part of courtroom evidence and even the homeless have used the easily accessible site to commit crimes.
The cultural phenomenon called Facebook has taken the world by storm. According to Pew Internet and American Life Project, 73% of online adults use some type of social networking and Facebook is the one used most often.
With so many people using social media for everything from keeping up with old friends and family to letting employees go via messaging, stories about the misuse of this electronic media in terrible ways abound. Here are only a few:
Recently, The NY Daily News reported the story of Merrick McCoy. He was angry with his former girlfriend so he kidnapped and shot their 18-month-old daughter in the head and killed her before turning the gun on himself. (He did not die from his self-inflicted wound until three days later.) His last message on FB was this: “I told u I can’t live without u lol u thought i was joking now me and mia out this b***h. McCoy posted a picture of himself holding the little girl before he acted out on his horrible rant.
Communicating your evil intentions to the world is one thing but using them for advertisement is another. Unfortunately, Facebook has its share of both. For instance: A Mexican drug cartel has even posted pictures of themselves on Facebook holding military-type weapons and schmoozing for the camera. According to the Daily Mail of UK, the cartel is using the media to promote their lifestyle and to recruit. One of their Facebook pictures depicts a man in sunglasses holding a “fan” of money next to his face and a car allegedly filled with containers of marijuana is shown.
And what about plotting a murder via Facebook? The Broward/Palm Beach News Times tells the story of two people who used Facebook to make references to the murder of a woman before and after the event. The alleged murderers of the 19-year-old girl posted pictures of themselves together the day of the murder and one of themselves partying at a bar in Florida that night.
Searching a suspected or confirmed killer’s Facebook after the fact is becoming commonplace too. According to NBC News, the Jan. 2014 mall killing of two women by Shawn Walter Bair, was proceeded by his Facebook statuses that read: “I have now realized that everybody should die no matter race or religion black white everybody will taste the cold metal of my knife and death shall follow me collecting souls of the wicked.” His other chilling statuses were in all caps (which is the recognized internet-messaging equivalent of shouting): “I MAYBE BE GOING TO HELL BUT AT LEAST I’M GOING HONEST” and “YOU LOOK AT ME AND SEE THIS FREAK. I SEE A GOD.”
The world over, the news tells graphic tales of sex-offenders and rapists who use Facebook to reach out to people with which they usually would have no contact. From the UK, for example, there was the story of a 33-year-old man who was a convicted double rapist. He was homeless and living in his car but was still able to use Facebook to lure a 17-year-old girl by using a fake profile. The article by Helen Carter from The Guardian tells that the convict, Peter Chapman, kidnapped, raped and murdered the teenager and then turned himself into the police later. On Facebook, he was a shirtless, handsome, young man. In real life, he was a toothless, homeless 33-year-old.
Sadly, nothing will stop evil-doers from using whatever means at their disposal to perpetrate their crimes. And as long as Facebook is a popular social medium, people will continue to share their morbid fantasies on it, confess their heinous acts through it, incriminate themselves by it, and plan to commit crimes with it and there is nothing we can do to stop them.