The gloves are off on social media

THINK before you post on social media because police are watching and anyone who ‘likes’ or comments on a crime could be implicated according to social media experts. 

The recent posting on Facebook of a fight at the north court of the library is a classic example of how people “don’t have a filter between their eyes and the world”.

It takes seconds to film, upload to YouTube and share on Facebook and often people do not think of the ramifications of their actions. 

Social media expert and blogger on egovau.com Craig Thomler said law enforcement authorities are catching adults not just children based on posts on social media.

He said people do not see social media as the same form of communication as more traditional methods like phones and face to face.

“They just don’t think that police are watching it and there is not a lot of time between the effort and the consequence,” he said.

He said in the context of the fight it was unlikely the boys fighting posted the video, rather a person in an outer circle of friends.

“It is a matter of credibility and popularity, the popularity they think they might get from posting the video, the benefits probably in their mind outweighed the ramifications,” he said.

Charles Sturt University professor of information studies Lisa Given said there was nothing unusual about the behaviour but when it is put on social media the reaction is often worse.

She said it was the same as a fight in the playground after school where all the children would come and watch, only this is a larger audience.

The 3063 likes the video received did not surprise Professor Given but she said it did not necessarily mean 3063 people condoned the video. 

“There isn’t a dislike button, it is more a case of acknowledging, yes I have seen this,” she said.

“Some people just like to feel part of the group.”

The first comments on the video were of encouragement to the two boys but one girl eventually posted that the video was pathetic.

Mr Thomler said it took amazing courage to be the one voice in a group to speak out against something, even on social media.

“Once the context is set about it being cool it takes someone with a lot of self confidence to say it isn’t cool at all,” he said.

nicole.kuter@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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