by HRIT Staff on March 26, 2010
The New York Times recently reported on a phenomenon that Facebook users are already well aware of: Facebook rudeness and hostility are on a rapid rise. The focus of their story: couples fighting via Facebook status updates. Says the Times, "this trend represents a gradual but significant degradation of our regard for marriage." Friends and loved ones quoted in the story expressed their own discomfort with being publicly put in the middle, noting that these public spats make it difficult to support relationships that seem deeply unhealthy.
We've observed some status abuse behavior that we think is even less civilized, though: People using their status to trash third parties, usually without their knowledge, so they cannot even defend themselves. (One HRIT member notes how she found out through her stepdaughter that her husband's ex was posting lengthy -- and completely inaccurate -- screeds about her. The ex posted vociferous tirades calling our colleague a "pregnant slut" and a "homewrecker," even though the ex-wife's affair was the downfall of her husband's marriage -- and, even then, the marriage only ended because the ex-wife asked for a divorce.)
It's bad out there on the wild, wild walls. But, would you believe, there is actually a Facebook trend we think is EVEN WORSE than this kind of behavior?
The most disturbing trend we see: the hateful group phenomenon, whereby someone establishing a group or page with a vicious raison d'etre ... and, thousands of people join on, apparently with glee (and obviously without shame). What is happening to our interactions, people?
A recent search at Facebook found nearly 350,000 pages featuring the word "hate." Nearly 5,000 with the word "whore." And, astonishingly, 11,000 pages containing the f-word in their titles (yes, THAT f-word!).
Aren't there children on Facebook? Is Facebook rearing the next generation of ruder, less considerate, crasser and more self-indulgent Americans?
I think we have our answer:
Seen something seriously rude on Facebook? Send us a link. We're going to launch a regular feature on Facebook incivility; our small effort to tilt the scales back towards some sense of community.
Your Shopping Cart
Rudeness Quote of the Moment
"A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction into a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day."