A 33 year-old man was recently arrested for the murder of a 17 year-old girl whom he met on the social networking site Facebook. It transpires he had two previous convictions of a similar nature.
Apparently, he was posing as a 19 year-old man and he "lured" the victim into meeting him where he proceeded to commit his dastardly crimes, resulting in her ultimate death. No names, no pack drill here..I do not wish to scaremonger younger members.
However, as usual, the UK news stations are holding Facebook responsible and whereby I don't wish to start a political war of words, I think it is important enough to warrant an adult discussion about Internet safety.
My guess is as good as yours but one thing I would suggest is that this man was not making himself visible to other friends on this girl's Facebook page - he was likely communicating with her in private via Facebook's PM facility.
But we are not talking about a young child here, we are talking about a 17 year-old girl who allegedly defied her parents and kept her dealings with this pervert private.
The news stations were quick to blame Facebook for having an insufficient report facility when it comes to abuse. But if such a facility were in place, I highly doubt it would have been utilised by this girl for she took the decision to meet him - nobody forced her into that decision and had she felt in any way compromised she would not have taken those fatal steps, surely?
It truly angers me how the Internet and it's affiliates are somehow always held responsible
Facebook are renowned for their "Stay Safe" policy but ultimately, that poor girl must have added him as a friend even though she didn't know him. She then spoke freely to him and agreed to meet him without telling anybody.
When I was 17 I was in a very responsible position within military circles - I certainly wasn't in the mindset of say, a 12 year-old but that doesn't mean others of this age aren't naive. Even so, how can Facebook be held accountable? It's no different to meeting a bloke in a nightclub and allowing him to walk you home - save the fact you have a true picture of him in terms of his true age, not that this makes one iota of real difference of course.
Before the establishment of the net, we had other means of making friends - pen pals and lonely hearts columns. The danger will always be out there but it's high time people took some share of the responsibility for themselves and their actions instead of grieving relatives seeking to point the finger at the likes of Facebook - a site, I may add, that has the admirable facility for users to delete undesirables from their list, making it impossible for them to view your status and messages etc...