Much has been written about society’s issues with social networking platforms. This matter has been particularly the case with Facebook in recent months.
It is true that through the utilization of social media sites such as Facebook, consumers receive positive benefits such as engagement with family and friends around the world and interaction with potential new clients. In addition to exposure to international markets and enhanced business metrics with advanced software to determine the level of Return On Investment into a organizations online advertising spend.
With the enhanced benefits Facebook consumers are also realizing there is a dark side to Facebook and it is not pretty. In certain instances vigilante groups appear to be at times overtaking sections of Facebook’s online community.
Recent events that spring to mind in Australia include; the Sydney based radio shock-jock Alan Jones hate campaign that resulted from his ill-considered comments about Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s father death.
It has become revealed that a backlash of epic proportions has been waged against the radio stations advertisers for supporting Alan Jones. It appears this cyber bullying campaign may have been run by left wing activist group – Get Up!
Alan Jones apologises to Julia Gillard PM for his ill-considered remarks
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Another noteworthy observation today in the Sydney Morning Herald stated that Macquarie Radio Network executive Russell Tate has weighed into the Gillard (ALP) v’s Jones debate, berating the 110, 000 petitions from people who threatened reputational damage against the radio stations sponsors. As a consequence advertising has been suspended on Alan Jones radio show and the station is rumoured to have lost $10 million in sponsorship as a result.
Later down the stream a string of abuse was directed at Ms Gillard after she logged off a Facebook online question and answer forum.
It is accurate assessment that Ms Gillard is almost universally not trusted and disliked, especially by other females and as such meets with intense criticism almost everywhere she goes, save for diplomatic circles where civil discourse is par for the course.
This extraordinary contempt for Ms Gillard is most likely due to her betrayal and backstabbing of a democratically elected Prime Minister – Kevin Rudd in mid-2010. This shocking event will permanently be etched into Australians memories.
The fact that Ms Gillard and her inner sanctum including; Wayne Swan, Nicola Roxon, Stephen Conroy and others viciously attack and bully their perceived opponents, in addition to some of their own Labor party MP’s without mercy, has only added to the public’s distaste for and distrust of almost everything Gillard’s Australian Labor Party (ALP) now states.
Despite this fact such vitriol in the public sphere and cyber space, is most unedifying and uncalled for. Universal calls for politicians to occupy the higher moral ground just don’t seem to be getting through. This lack of leadership is having a flow on effect down-stream, as impressionable members of society believe it is acceptable to publicly and privately bully and attack other people. This effect can be viewed as role modelling in reverse, or as some may say running a PM-ship astern.
A number of key public figures are standing up and holding the “Stop – Proceed with Caution” signs, hoping the community will check in and take note.
Victorian Attorney General Robert Clarke has disclosed his disquiet at the lack of co-operation from Facebook representatives in removing dissenting hate pages against the accused killer of an Irish Woman, in Melbourne recently.
Likewise Victoria Police Commissioner Ken Lay has requested within the recent week for Facebook to remove its vigilante style hate based fan pages and posts for fear of prejudicing a fair trial against the woman’s accused killer.
Key law and justice academics are also entering the public discussion in an attempt to educate the community about the dangers of negatively influencing a criminal trial jury. In an attempt to avoid a potential situation whereby murder victims such as the identified Irish woman and her family could potentially not receive the justice they seek, due to a prejudiced hearing.
One thing is for certain in today’s fragile economy is that any company including Facebook who willingly discharges their duty, under globally recognized Corporate Social Responsibility guidelines will suffer the consequences of their actions.
If Facebook fails to act in a timely fashion for the public good, they may very well find themselves in a ships grave yard, full of other sinking ships.
Facebook executives only have to only have to look at images of the sunken Titanic and half-submerged Costa Concordia cruise liner to realize that organizations that focus on largesse and greed as sole measures of success, without incorporating the social, political and environmental impacts into their bottom line do so at their own risk !
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