There is an article on BBC News‘ website this evening which explains a mother’s anguish at Facebook because she found out that her daughter was dead through Facebook. Why do these thing happen?
Report a deceased person’s profile
Facebook have a form allowing you to pass on validated information that someone has died, such as a friend or family member. Okay, this might be a good idea. Maybe it is good to have a memorial page to remember a person — after all it is good to remember someone online, right?
But this form does not collect people’s opinions on a death. Facebook treat a death like they treat people — just like a number.
Technology and feelings do not mix
No matter how much of a bad day you’re having, or how much you are enjoying life, technology will never really know your emotions. Okay, maybe Twitter can analyse words in your tweets to gather that you are angry, but they will never know why you are angry. Humans can always know, and should be the only ones to ever know how you are feeling.
The mother who found out her daughter was dead through Facebook will never know why Facebook was so insensitive. Maybe she will get an apology from them, but that will not make up for what they done to her.
Technology does not do emotions. Technology needs to take a step back to know that the people, human beings, who use their stuff do do emotions. Humans do emotions really well, in fact.
Examples of where technology gets it wrong because of emotions
- criminal gangs take place online to vent their anger, or to play with other people’s emotions — they arrange to beat other people up, or even worse, kill other people. Technology can facilitate crime!
- paedophiles can roam around on the online world to groom young children, and vulnerable adults. Technology does not always get people’s intentions. Technology can support other people’s (sick) sexual emotions
- technology allows people to steal off other people’s stuff. Technology allows people to download free music, movies and programs. It does not take into account the creator’s loss. How are they funding themselves? Why is your favourite artist not writing as much music as they were before? Is it because they are not getting as much money as they once were? Does this mean we need to be more ethical, as the human being using technology?
Why does Facebook not send a private message to immediate family members, before they tell the world someone is dead? This won’t necessarily solve their problem, but it might make ‘finding out’ less painful. Facebook do know who and where people are, why don’t the humans behind these global companies get to grips with technology? We will never know why such managers get top positions in a selfish and global company.
As you can tell, I am a little angry with technology right now. It does not always get it right: technology sometimes will never know the full picture!