Facebook Is NOT How Military Wife Should Have Learned of Husband's Death (VIDEO)

ariell taylor-brown widow military found out via facebookEvery now and then, I'm grateful that Facebook can be a "one-stop-shop" for certain pieces of news. For instance, it's the perfect place to find out that a couple you're not super close to got engaged or to see that your favorite website has posted an interesting article on fitness tips. But when it comes to other, more salient, sensitive news ... the social network should not be directly involved at all. 

That became even more apparent recently after a military wife, Ariell Taylor-Brown found out about her husband Staff Sgt. Christopher Brown's death . On April 3, after Sgt. Brown was killed by an insurgent bomb in Afghanistan, a woman in his platoon posted on her Facebook page about an emergency. Then she wrote to Taylor-Brown and told her to call her immediately. And that's when she delivered the devastating news.

Taylor-Brown elaborates:

She told me over the phone, right in front of my kids and I completely had a meltdown. She wasn't supposed to but I guess she took it on her own power to do it. ... It was a horrible way for me to find out. She didn't even give me a chance. I could have been driving and I could have harmed myself learning this.

Exactly! What absolutely horrendous judgment on the soldier's part. Broadcasting this kind of news and contacting next of kin on Facebook is totally wrong and definitely crosses an ethical boundary. Sure, it's shunned especially because it is within the context of a military death. What the woman did is an offense that could result in a court martial, because soldiers aren't supposed to release info about deaths until next of kin have been told. But even if this was just a regular citizen telling another regular citizen about her husband's death via Facebook, it would have been completely wrong.

Making matters worse, the mom-of-two is pregnant 11 weeks along with their third child -- who she says she hopes is a boy she'll name Carter (the name Christopher came up with). And earlier that day, she had Skyped with her husband. Ugh, completely heartwrenching.

Stories like this should really be a wake-up call for people who use Facebook way too frequently and flippantly to share sensitive news. Is nothing sacred anymore? Some matters that are simply better discussed in a more formal way. That means not just delivered by the right person, but most importantly offline.

Here's the local news story on Ariell ...


How awful is this?! Have you ever had upsetting news delivered to you via Facebook?


Image via NBC4i.com

facebook, military


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nonmember avatar skipper

Well, I'm torn on this. It's not like she just wrote her on facebook and told her he had passed. She told her on the phone and just alerted her of an emergency on facebook. Unfortunately, in this day and age social networking sites are one of the quickest ways to get in touch with someone. If something happened to my husband I would want to know as quickly as possible. How long would she have been in the dark if someone had to wait long enough to tell her in person. I don't think there is anyway easy way to break this news to a person. What are the proper protocols for this in the military?

KWnav... KWnavywife

As a military wife, this is the kind of crap that really pisses me off. There is a protocol for this type of thing and the woman who told her needs to face charges of some type. I have told more than one fellow wife to take things off the fb pages because they (the wives) weren't even supposed to know that info.

nonmember avatar NavyWife

Agreed, KWnavywife! I'm afraid that if this starts happening too much that military personnel won't be able to use any type of technology without supervision. I really don't want a chief standing next to my husband while he's emailing me.

Christy Beals

just out of curiosity, if the other woman was deployed, how was she receiving phone calls especially if they'd just lost someone? as far as i know (I'm a ex military wife) when something like that they go into lockdown...

nonmember avatar jessica

I'm not a military wife, but my best friend is a marine and my brother in law is army... I could never imagin finding out like that. Not on facebook... that's beyond wrong. And like his wife said... they don't know what you could be doing. I check facebook on my phone all the time, and if I leared my best friend or brother in law had died, while I was at a store or anything... I don't know if id b able to handle it. And that's just a best friend or brother in law not a man I have childern with and decated my life to.

Tammy... TammyHypes

I am not only a military daughter but the mother of a military man.  The girls judgement was off but I would bet that she knew the lady and thought it'd be better coming from someone she knew other than seeing that car pulling up in the drive.  Hindsite is 20/20.  My guess is that she thought she was helping.  I also know that during a loss in the units internet is usually cut off.  She probably thought that she may have known by that point.  I'll give an example of something that happened just recently.,  My son has been deployed on the morning that his ship left ALL over the radio in VA was what ships were leaving and where they were going. 

nonmember avatar Laurie

Im guessing the the woman's husband or boyfriend told her and she took it upon herself to notify the other wife.

nonmember avatar jen

I am wondering the same thing as Christy. As a Marine Wife whose has dealt with deployments something just sounds weird about her being able to get on facebook to have someone just up and call her. if she wasn't deployed with him, then how did she find out before the spouse? My heart and prayers go out to the family.

HLGSt... HLGStrider

It's been several years, so maybe policy has changed, but when my (then boyfriend now husband) was in Iraq,  if someone had been killed or even wounded he wasn't even able to call me until notifications had happened for fear of someone finding out the wrong way. Maybe there was a personal relationship here that made the lady think she was doing the right thing, but there is a reason that these notifications are made by people with training. What if the woman had lost it and tried to hurt herself? She wouldn't have had anyone there but her children to turn to. I don't think facebook is the worst part of this story. It shouldn't have happened over the phone period. 

Arlene Trani

As a Military Mom, I think being told by someone I knew that my son was injured or killed would be a softer blow than the two uniformed men sent to notify me. I do agree that being told via Facebook was inappropiate and a definate violation of OpSec protocol. I'm sure the platoon member meant well, but it wasn't the way to notify this military wife.

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