Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Are Social Networking Sites A Threat To One's Health?
Putting your life story on a social network is like shouting out your life story in the middle of Times Square. It is not a lot different than passing out your autobiography and resume to everyone at the mall. Is there a real danger in losing one's privacy in this modern era? Many think the dangers of spending so much time on the Internet are greater than simply the health risks of sitting on your butt for hours at a time. Some go so far as to suggest that Facebook and other social networking sites are truly dangerous because they can become tools to facilitate crime, even murder. Is there any evidence to back up such claims? The parents of three Colombian teens may thinks so...
Let's go back a few weeks. Three Colombian teenagers names appeared on a "hit list" posted to Facebook. Subsequently all three were fatally shot. International Reports. The identity of the murder remains a mystery. Even more troublesome is that the author of the list remains unknown. There are rumors that the victims may have had ties to drug gangs. Colombian news suggests the hits might somehow be related to a gang known as the Los Rastrojos ("The Stubble.") Los Rastrojos is rumored to be "one of the most powerful neo-paramilitary drug organizations" in Colombia. The gang has a reputation for making and following through on death threats.
However, others suggest that the hit list and murders are attributable to other rival paramilitary groups. What is known is that on Aug. 15, 16-year-old Diego Ferney Jaramillo and 17-year-old Eibart Alejandro Ruiz Munoz were shot and killed while riding a motorcycle. CNN. The hit list was published on Aug. 17, containing 69 names of local young men, including the two young men that were killed. The list warned: "Get out of town within three days or suffer the same fate as the victims." Facebook subsequently blocked the site. However, on August 20th, 19-year-old Norbey Alexander Vargas was fatally gunned down. His 16-year-old friend, Juan Pablo Zambrano Anacona was also wounded in the incident.
Hate lists have become all too common on social networking sites. Facebook threats. Yet little is typically done about them. In the instant case, no arrests have been made. No suspects have been named. Parents are rightfully concerned. Yet Facebook has remained quiet on the issue. Should Facebook and other sites be banned? Probably not. However, Facebook should make a commitment to do a better job of policing its site and reporting "hate lists" to the appropriate authorities. After all, an owner of a store typically has a duty to exercise reasonable care for the safety of its invitees, so why should the same duty not be extended to a social networking site?