Espresso,  Ethics

Social Media, Deleted and Should Have Been Deleted

Perhaps it is a good thing that BtL comments on HP are archived after seven days. Considering the bun-fights which ensue on a regular basis, there could be endless material to embarrass authors years later; especially if they were applying for public sector work, such as Adrian Smith whose casual comments on gay marriage led to his demotion by Trafford Housing Trust, later thrown-out at tribunal.

Or, even more dramatically, the farce over the Robin Hood Airport tweet.

(Although, post-Disqus it may be possible to track-down an author via their profile.)

More poignant is the lag-time of the death of a family member, when correspondence and other official reminders trickle in for weeks and months. Last week, Google announced the launch of a tool which would allow the deleting (or, at least, remove from public view) of webprints after a user’s death or period of inactivity: a course of action Paris Brown might have done well to consider.

Within days of her being appointed as the £15,000 per annum Youth Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent Police, the Daily Mail had trawled through her Twitter-feed to find a series of tweets which could, as they say, be construed as being of a racist and homophobic nature.

Personally, I found them toe-curlingly embarrassing for anyone of any age. After an equally embarrassing situation in which she delivered a televised apology, she resigned after under a week.

Writing on Left-Foot Forward, Joe Jones was scornful of the Daily Mail, bracketing this piece with Richard Littlejohn’s execrable piece on Lucy Meadows.

Whilst I could not see any purpose to Littlejohn’s piece – such as genuine, albeit misplaced concern for the education of schoolchildren – other than having a go at a transgendered teacher, Jones’ repeated assessment of Brown as a mere teenager prone to ill-considered remarks who had had an opportunity of a lifetime ruined by spite struck the wrong note.

Answer is maybe that she should have remained, but she arguably was not a mere teenager; but one placed in a position of considerable authority and in receipt of a salary greater than a considerable proportion of the working public.

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