Facebook not the best platform for serious issues
Facebook has become one of the top modes of communication in modern times.
Its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, is currently worth around $6 billion. As of July 2010, it had more than 500 million users, which is more than the number of people living in the US alone. All of this serves to show that Facebook is the new platform for ideas and communication.
Huntington Beach, a small town located in Southern California, has recently proposed that the names of people charged with driving under the influence be published on the town’s Facebook. Huntington Beach has had a problem with drunken driving; it has reported 274 alcohol related collisions and 1,687 DUI arrests. This is the highest rate for a city its size in California.
But does the high rate of drunken driving necessitate the need for public shaming on Facebook?
Praising should be done in public and criticizing in private. It never does a person good to have their dirty laundry broadcasted to their community. The person who has committed the offense needs something constructive, rather than destructive. What they don’t need (and by, extension, what the community doesn’t need) is to have their reputation cast into doubt, when they might be morally decent people.
Secondly, does public defamation on Facebook work? Due to its casual nature, it would seem that Facebook is an inappropriate means to publish this kind of information. For one, people don’t often view Facebook as a serious platform; that is, it is more for friendly conversations and relationships, not for official business and politics.
Besides this, how many people on Facebook willingly admit to these kinds of acts in their statuses, or post pictures that tell of candid events occurring at wild parties on Friday nights? Many people might not take the fact of drunk driving in Huntington Beach as seriously because they have used Facebook as a personal outlet to show their wild side. Beyond this, there is the fact that most people who might stumble upon Huntington Beach’s Facebook page won’t give half a damn about the names of drunk drivers.
It seems that Facebook, while being a platform that is excellent for communication between friends, isn’t really the place for a town to post official things such as a list of drunk drivers. Huntington Beach is better off posting it on a website of their own, where people who actually care about the information can search for it actively.
Ian Everett is a creative writing freshman and may be reached at [email protected].