Warning: you're going to want to think this story is a fake, but it isn't. A mother from Georgia is waffling between heartbreak and anger today after police notified her that her 30-year-old son had been killed in a motor vehicle accident. Why is she mad? Because the police reached out to Anna Lamb-Creasey via Facebook to break the horrible news!
Can you imagine? You don't even get the courtesy of a "Ma'am, please sit down" when you get the worst news of your life? It's inappropriate ... to say the least. But it could happen to you too.
Lamb-Creasey and her daughter say they both got messages from an account named "Misty Hancock" that they allowed to sit in their Facebook "other" inboxes because they had no idea who Misty Hancock was. Meanwhile they were worried sick about Rickie Lamb, who had been missing since January 25. They'd been trying to track him down, even calling hospitals and jails.
It wasn't until Rickie's sister opened her "other" box on Facebook that she found the message, called the number, and, well you know the rest. He'd been hit by a car while crossing a road.
As awful as it all is, I can't help wondering if this is how it's going to be in the future. Cops in Clayton County, Georgia say they tried several of the conventional methods for tracking down Rickie Lamb's family, and they kept hitting dead ends. Facebook was their last resort.
Their methods were questionable -- a random account with a strange name is one I'd ignore too. But considering how tight a rein we hold on our privacy these days, it's easy enough to see this happening again and again and again.
Think about it: if someone wanted to find you, how hard would it be, really?
As much as one in four American homes have ditched the land line for a cellphone, the numbers of which are largely unlisted. Sick of spammers, we try to keep our emails private. And no one wants to list their home address on anything anymore, lest some crazy show up at their door.
I lost my address book recently, and it took me a full half hour of Googling to find an old friend's phone number ... and I am pretty GOOD at Googling.
It may be the responsibility of police to notify next of kin in these sort of cases, but a certain amount of the burden has to fall on the shoulders of said kin to make themselves reachable, doesn't it?
Do you think you'd be reachable in case of an emergency like this? Would Facebook be the way they'd find you?
Image via west.m/Flickr