Think before you click
AT no other time is this reminder more relevant than today, when hordes of people have unleashed their worst and are not above bashing anyone they want to just because they can.
While before, libel was the scourge of journalists and only a few non-journalists are inconvenienced and penalized with slander, these days, libel is a criminal offense applicable to all, especially with social media where the medium of spreading malice is on everyone’s fingertip.
In today’s issue, we have a wedding organizer who was arrested for a cyber-libel complaint filed by a fellow wedding organizer. Under normal circumstance just a decade ago, this would just be your regular ‘chismisan’ and backbiting, which is very hard to prove and is thus settled in some other way, violently or peacefully.
There are Latin phrases for those who insist that their social media wall is theirs and theirs alone: “dura lex sed lex” (The law may be harsh but it’s the law), and “ignorantia legis neminem excusat” (ignorance of law excuses no one). Simply said, think before you click. Be guided, control yourself, and no, your social media wall is not yours. It is in the public realm and thus is ruled by laws.
As Filipinos become more and more engaged with social media, it is time that proper decorum becomes part of a child’s and the parents’ learnings. Much like how good manners and right conduct is being pushed as a separate subject in the curriculum like it was before to give it emphasis and importance, good manners and right conduct online is now a must.
As is the common experience these days, the elders just cannot keep track of how mobile the young ones are on their mobiles, thus the importance of making sure that as they navigate their way into this circuitous and very dangerous world we live in, they know what to look out for and what not to do. In the process, the young ones grow up to be adults who know what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior in the public realm of social media.
It is never your wall your posts. Never. For as long as it is there for others to see and react to, it is no longer just yours and are thus can be subject for law enforcement, as all public spheres are.