BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -The Thanksgiving night mall shooting has tensions rising—both in real life and on social media. But how far is too far?
The internet can be a very hate-filled platform. People get into arguments online and are quick to retaliate against anyone who disagrees with them.
“There’s a sense of protection people feel when posting things, behind their keyboard, they can hide behind their keyboard. But it’s a false notion that you’re really protected, that you’re really safe,” says social media expert Maree Jones.
People share their phone number, email, even just the region they live in. And anyone can subpoena the service networks for records these days. The political climate in Birmingham is so volatile now that folks are not holding back when it comes to saying something hurtful. But there’s another side-effect—people who want to retaliate against those making harmful remarks, and possibly taking it too far. When someone recently made a racially-charged comment on a public Facebook page, another person took a screen shot and posted it, asking people to “Light her page up”. A mean-spirited comment was posted by another user. It wasn’t long before someone did research on them and publicly posted their employee information and contacted their boss. When it gets that heated, how far is too far?
“I would say the minute that you take someone’s privacy away is the moment that it’s considered bullying,” says Jones.
Freedom of speech allows people to post their opinions, but Jones asks—do you always want to?
“You don’t have to share your opinion about politics, religion, whatever tragedy just like this that just happened. It’s all optional,” says Jones.
And whether or not you lose your job over your comments really depends on where you work and how severe the comments are. Jones says every workplace is different and each employer has the right to hire or fire anyone they want. And remember, you can change your privacy settings on social media at any time.