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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

The day we were shamed on the internet

The day we were Facebook named and shamed on the internet

The other day, my husband came home from walking our family dog, which he does three times a day. 

He said he'd come across an older lady in the woods with her dogs, one of her dogs - a big, old one - had grumbled or snapped and they'd had the dog equivalent of handbags at dawn. My husband dragged them apart, put our dog back on his lead, apologised and checked that there were no injuries, which of course there weren't...

And then the woman took his photo.

Yesterday, a friend confirmed his suspicions and told us the news that he had the dubious honour of having his face plastered all over Facebook, being 'named and shamed' for having an out of control dangerous dog and being a general n'er-do-well.

I looked it up; it wasn't good.
I've hidden his face, not because of anonymity issues, obviously, but because it's a bloody awful photo and he'd kill me.
The post had been shared over 600 times, all over the local area, by friends of friends and into local Facebook groups, and it had received some alarmingly vile comments.

He looks like a thug. Pig.  You can tell that dog is horrible and violent, it should be put down. Why don't you take pepper spray with you? Disgusting man, should be arrested. Looks simple.

I was astounded.

The vigilante mindset of some people; middle aged people at that, aiming such vitriol at a lovely, gentle, non-confrontational (and most definitely not simple) man was truly disturbing. Needless to say it's extremely upsetting that so many people can be so thoroughly horrible sitting behind their keyboards, deciding the facts for themselves based on what someone has written on Facebook.

It made me so angry; I did nothing all day but read the comments and get increasingly frustrated, receiving spontaneous messages of support from friends who'd seen the post wondering what the fuck was going on, knowing my husband and my dog and obviously not believing a word of it.

Now I'll say here that our dog might be a jerk, he might bark at the door and get in the way, but the only injury you'd ever get from him would be one from falling over him in the dark. He's a lover not a fighter.

But hey; I guess I would say that wouldn't I?

It's here I veer dangerously into he-said-she-said territory. I've obviously known my husband for over ten years and know him to be one of the least confrontational, calmest people I have ever met. He doesn't lie. I've also known our dog for almost five years, from the day we rescued him and I know all the hard work that mu husband has put into socialising him with other dogs, and it all leads me to believe that it's unsubstantiated bollocksI could point out that her own picture of the aggressive attacker, in which you can quite clearly see he is surrounded by other dogs and on a lead...
But even if it were true (and lord knows there would have been pictures of the injuries if it had been); the whole thing is needless. What was she hoping to achieve? And what happened to dealing with issues like a human being? Reporting to the appropriate channels and let them decide what the correct course of action is? Don't run to Facebook, stir up a frenzy and ask your baying mob to do your work, without thinking of the consequences for the poor man and his family that you are humiliating and upsetting in the process.

If she reads this, and I doubt she will because I can't imagine 600+ angry idiots sharing this post, my message to her is this:

Naming and shaming and spreading hateful bullshit on the internet makes you a stupid twat.

You might not have written the comments yourself, but you are responsible for encouraging every single one of them and you should be ashamed of yourself, you hateful, bitter old woman.

Now, I guess it could be fairly easy for me to screencap this lady's profile from which this post was publicly available, and offer it round to my followers asking them to like and share for any number of made up reasons, but of course although mildly entertaining this would make me no better than her and her mob of trial-by-facebook guilty-til-proven-innocent halfwits.

Shame on you, all of you.

After publishing a similar plea on my Facebook page for people not to share such vindictive tripe without thought and reporting the post numerous times, the post has since been deleted or made private but no apology has been received. The post may be gone, but the screencaps and the hurt still remain.

Fortunately for my husband, he doesn't bother much with Facebook. Fortunately for the lady, he is the peaceful kind and a thoroughly decent human being; the antithesis of the thug she attempted to paint him as.

Still, it's not cool.

Social media can be a fantastic place; I love Facebook (as you may have guessed) but this really shows a different side to it.

Take care what you share. Don't be a dick.

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  1. You should report her for Defamation. It's a serious thing. You should stand up to those vile woman properly.

  2. I can't believe the woman and I can't believe the stupidty of some people for leaving such hurtful and downright nasty comments on a post that is unfounded. You are spot on when you say "You might not have written the comments yourself, but you are responsible for encouraging every single one of them and you should be ashamed of yourself, you hateful, vindictive, nasty, bitter old woman.". Also, I always think that you should think before you share a post - is there proof and how would you feel if the post was about you and you read those comments. I hope you get an apology! Also what the lady above says.

  3. People are so ugly on the internet. I've learned that through my own experience (though much milder) when a jokey post I made about wheelie bins on a pavement when I was pushing a pram led to a disabled woman being verbally attacked when she pointed out how difficult it made it for her in her wheelchair. The comments she got were vile, in response to a reasonable comment, so I can only imagine what was said about your thug, dog-fighting husband!

  4. I'm sorry to read this, and hope it makes people think twice before joining in the comments next time someone is named and shamed for any reason. What people post on fb is a snap shot with no context or very biased context. It's not possible to know for sure that any information is accurate and not I soured by an agenda of some sort. So those of us reading that know no better than what a friend of a friend or even a complete stranger is telling us should keep our opinions to ourselves. Chin up, you'll remember this a lot longer than anyone that saw that stupid post on fb, they'll be on to the next gossip by this morning x

  5. This is just insane. Her words are utterly awful. Horrible, cowardly behaviour on this lady's part. Ugh. The internet is so horrid at times.

  6. Jeez this is awful!! There's nothing I hate seeing more than "name and shame" posts and the unwarranted barrage of nonsense that comes with it! Sorry you had to deal with this :(

  7. I see this all the time, especially with dog related posts and it infuriates me.
    Nobody looks at both sides of the story anymore. As far as the Facebook jury are concerned you are guilty until proven innocent which is ridiculous.
    I'm sure it would be a totally different story the other way around.
    So sorry you and your husband had to deal with this x


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