Every 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.
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