Don’t blame Facebook!

What are the dangers of social media?

There are many dangers that come with you becoming part of a social media websites, and there are various different ones that you can sign up to. From things like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, there are so many things that you need to be careful of and make sure that you watch out for yourself and others when you are writing and posting things to these websites without thinking it through first. It could jeopardise your future.

One of the dangers that was shown in the documentary is that you do really need to be careful what you write on these sites because you never really know who is looking at what you are writing and what you are saying. As there was a pair in the documentary, a guy and his friend (who was a girl) that were going on holiday to the USA. She dealt with all the bookings and the tickets, when he was just really, posting regular tweets to Twitter. One tweet got him into trouble. He joked in his tweet that he was going to “destroy America” and “dig up Marilyn Monroe”, but when they got into the USA they weren’t aware that his tweets were being monitored and American security thought that they were terrorists. After in depth interrogations and questions about what their intentions were, they were eventually deported from the US back to England, losing the £2K that they had spent on the holiday!

Another one of the dangers in the things that you upload is through video evidence and using YouTube are the two stories that were talked about in the documentary. One of a man who was videoing and uploading all of the 90+ videos of the crimes that he had been committing with his friends, as a ‘joke’. At this point the police had everything they needed to charge him with the offences that he had committed. He received an ASBO and was banned from uploading anything to YouTube for 2 years. The other story was of a woman and her husband that were driving in their car, and a group of children were sanding at the side of the road in the rain by a puddle, telling them to drive through it and splash them with the water. So they did and because they thought that it was funny and entertaining for both them and the children she decided to upload it to YouTube and before they knew it, it had gone viral. But she not only got 3 points on her driving license and a fine, she was refused a job by companies because of her posting this video online, as people didn’t see the same funny side to it as she did at the time. 

Another one of the dangers that people have learnt about the hard way is setting things to private instead of making it public for the whole of Facebook to see and share with one another. There was young guy from the UK that was having a party and expected only the 80 friends that he had sent invites to privately though inbox to turn up to his house. But what he didn’t realise was that his friends didn’t have the same sort of respect and they made the invites that he sent to them public for their friends, and their friends friends to see! And when the time came for the party over 300 people turned up at his house. The riot police had to get involved, and even some of his friends were bitten by the dogs that they brought in. He didn’t realise these implications before he sent these invites to people online instead of telling them in person. A similar story is one of a girl in Germany that was having a sweet 16 party and when she announced the date, time and place on Facebook to her friends, she decided to make it public, so everyone was able to see the information and more than 15,000 people RSVPed to the invite. 

A big no, would be something that parents have always told their children not to do when they join any social networking websites. Don’t talk to people that you don’t know, and don’t give out private information to people that you don’t know in real life. These are some of the mistakes that people made in the documentary. One a young guy that was seen as being viral on the internet that was giving out information to people as he didn’t think anything was going to happen and he ended up finding someone in his bed when he came back from a night out with friends after just moving into his new place. And another when a relationship fell apart and ex girlfriend of Mike Andre told an anonymous twitter user about some of the private and intimate details about herself and their relationship, whee they were being streamed to this persons Twitter account. 

Other incidents included that of a young mum that was cast out of a beauty pageant because images that had been taken of her in a photo shoot had been edited to look like she was nude, when she wasn’t so she had to pay the price. As well as a mum that thought her son was dead because his friends were playing a prank on him on Facebook and didn’t think of the consequences before they posted.

Slander and libel are very serious and closely watched things on social networks because it very easy to be annoyed at someone and make a mistake by saying something slanderous about someone. Like one of the soldiers that was supposed to be at the royal wedding found out when he made a rant about Kate Middleton online and it was seen by the Ministry of Defence and he was taken off to cover the wedding to do something else. So he had to pay for the things that he said about people.

In conclusion, we might think that what we are posting online is innocent and harmless laughs and fun but it might actually harm us. It could cost you the job that you want if the employers have been made aware of the things that you have been posting online, you could land yourself in prison or in serious trouble for things that you are doing if they are against the law. But you might be putting yourself in danger because it is easy for people to know things about you if you make it easy for them by telling them things without knowing who you are really talking to. 

What can we do to protect ourselves when using digital communication?

Some of the things that we can do to protect ourself against things like this are simple. You need to NOT tell people private things about your life, people that you are friends/in relationships with, or where your living. Especially if they are people that you don’t know – because like we found out in the Catfish film, you never really do know who you are talking to online, it could all be lies. 

Don’t post videos online if they could get you into trouble, and even lose you your job. As you never know who might come across the video, you might not think you are going to get caught out, but you can never be too sure of these things. 

Make sure that if you really must post pictures of yourself on Facebook, or want to use a social site to invite people to a party, make sure that you can not only trust the people you are inviting to not make it public to their friends, etc if that is what you are trying to avoid, but you make sure that you set invitations to private yourself as well, otherwise you could get into some of the trouble that some people have in the past. 

Also, really think about what you are posting before you do so, because it might not make a difference to you now, but it could in the future, and you don’t want a social network and the things you’ve posted on their in the past to define you in the future to the people that might be employing you in the future. 

Don’t slander or libel anyone, you need to be careful not only what you say in general but what you are saying about other people, because if that person sees it they might want to to take action against you because you are damaging their reputation to others.


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