Facebook already is considered such a prominent part of our daily lives, but the rate at which we’re exposed to events in real time can still be rather abrasive to say the least. Annoying updates on babies and the lunch of others aside, who knows when you might stumble across something you really didn’t want to discover. Like when 49-year-old mother Cheryl Jones logged on one day to discover that her 30-year-old daughter, Karla Jones, had died.
The Telegraph reports that Cheryl discovered a “RIP Karla” tribute on Facebook. She had been prompted to take a look after her nephew called, having seen the posting himself. Police had yet to notify the mother.
She then called her daughter’s cell phone only to have a police officer pick up on the other end. He notified her that “someone would be round shortly.” Karla’s cause of death is still being determined as she collapsed in an apartment a half mile from her home.
But get this. Instead of perhaps accepting some responsibility for failing to immediately notify Karla’s family, one cop is blaming Facebook. He told Ms. Jones in a letter:
“It is a sad indictment of today’s society that an unknown individual made the decision to broadcast such tragic news without consideration for the family. I am sure that you understand that the police have no powers to effect or influence an individual’s use of any networking site in these circumstances.”
Of course, they don’t. But I imagine proper protocol includes notifying the family in a timely matter. Granted, lightening fast social media is changing our notion of “timely” but the cops really did drop the ball on this one, which is why paperwork has been filed:
An official complaint has now been made to Gwent Police with the aid of Blaenau Gwent Labour MP Nick Smith.
It criticises the time it took officers to contact Mrs Jones and the fact that no family member was sought to identify the body.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all the rest are definitely all about the “broadcast” for some. But for others, the platforms are also a space to commune and seek support during trying times. In some instances, though, it would seem that support is being organized faster than our protocol.