Sunday, November 15, 2015

Facebook and Disasters

The Brazilian fake news site Sensacionalista has a story which, like The Onion, is close enough to be true. It says that to avoid controversy Facebook would allow people to change their profile to honor the dead in Minas Gerais.  I could in fact see that sort of thing happening. Bad news and disasters are big deals on Facebook, where people rush to show their "solidarity," whatever that actually means (usually, think, it means nothing other than "I want to say publicly that I am against bad things"). Of course, the current profile image is of the French flag--Facebook makes it as easy as possible even just to temporarily change it.

And what of other disasters around the world? They don't get profile changes, yet I wouldn't doubt that Facebook will start thinking regionally, just in case you prefer to honor a different disaster than the Paris attacks. You could honor 3-4 at time if you didn't want to offend people by what you're not honoring. What you fail to honor would became a hot topic of debate. We'd spend so much time debating what to honor that we'd make sure never to actually do anything about any of them. I could really see that happening.


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