Facebook joke sends police to pregnant woman’s home
So when is a joke on Facebook not a joke?
When the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) comes a knockin’ at your door with a complaint that you are trying to sell a two-year-old boy.
That’s what happened recently on a Facebook moms’ tagsale page, where women post items for sale and chitchat about community events.
A woman was humorously attempting to announce she was pregnant with her second child by posting that she had a “slightly used” two-year-old boy for sale, who was a bit naughty but could be corrected by chocolate. She concluded by saying the sale was due to her expectation of a newer model in 2014.
It was a cute way to announce good news, and other mothers quickly congratulated her. It wasn’t the first time someone posted something like this on that page. A few weeks earlier a football widow posted she had a “slightly used” husband for sale who required little maintenance except for chicken wings and beer during football season.
But not everyone was amused by the pregnant woman’s post and someone decided to called DCF and report that a woman was trying to sell a child online. The police showed up quickly at the woman’s door to investigate.
The woman was upset and thrown for a loop. She came back to the page and posted what happened. After spending an hour questioning her, the police concluded there was no substance to the claim and left. She couldn’t understand why someone would report her to authorities over an apparent joke.
An unfortunate incident. And what followed demonstrated the worst and most petty qualities in people (and by people I mean WOMEN) and the perils of Facebook and social media.
A bit of background first. This particular FB page is classified as “private.” It is only open to members at the invitation of a current member and formal acceptance by the admins of the page. This particular page is quite popular. While other tagsale pages might boast memberships of around 1,000 – 2,000, this one has more than 6,000 members. It covers some very wealthy towns in Connecticut, making it a very good spot to sell items and make some fast money.
I joined the page a couple months before Christmas hoping to clean out my closets and sell enough items to buy a new chair. Long story short, I now have a new leather chair, living room rug, and flatware set. Plus, I was able to buy my daughter an L.L. Bean winter coat and several new outfits (had to make it up to her for selling her old American Girl doll). This tagsale page is a nice place to be.
The admins on the page are volunteers, moms who created the page for fun, a venue to get rid of old baby clothes, and schmooze with other like-minded moms. Because the page is private, and not open to the general public, it gave the admins a sense of security that the group wouldn’t be bothered by online predators or nogoodnicks. They also reserved the right to ban anyone they deemed improper, for whatever reason.
After the DCF incident, the admins were outraged that someone in the group had reported the woman to authorities. They had a pretty good idea who it might be because on the original post several women criticized the mom for making the joke. But not knowing for sure who made the call, the admins decided to ban everyone who commented negatively about the mom on the post.
Admins’ response on the tagsale page immediately after the incident:
AND NOW US ADMINS ARE LIVID! Someone called DCF on a mom in this group over a post that was clearly joking about selling her child. EVERYONE WHO COMMENTED NEGATIVELY ON THAT POST IS NOW BEING REMOVED AND BANNED!!! This is absolutely disgusting and I will NOT stand for uptight ASSES in this group. I own and run this group, and at this point, whoever called, just because you have no life and nothing better to do but harass an innocent mom, doesn’t mean we will allow it. GET A LIFE!
Things did not end there though. There was a backlash to the backlash. Several members announced they were leaving because they didn’t want to be part of a group that had members who would make crazy charges against each other.
Another member was especially vocal and critical about the admins for wasting HER time over this incident. She blamed the admins for creating “drama,” blocking up the news feed, and making her miss bargains. She said she was leaving the group in disgust.
Out of curiosity, I decided to visit this woman’s FB page (which is open to the general public). After venting to her friends and calling the tagsale admins “whores” and “bitches,” her friends thought it might be fun to join the tagsale page, call the admins the “C” word, and upload pornographic material to it. They thought this was hysterical.
But no doubt, the tagsale admins, like me, were reading this woman’s FB page because all their requests to join were declined. I took a snapshot of this woman’s FB page so as not to forget what she and her friends said so I don’t mistakenly do business with them on another tagsale page.
What the freakin’ heck? First the unwarranted call to DCF and then this crappy backlash. Is this how people, and by people again I mean WOMEN, behave? Are we in grade school? It’s beyond childish. I think of the waste of police and DCF time that could and should have been spent helping children in need. It’s just not funny. And this woman and her friends’ response? Way too much time on their hands if this is how they get their kicks.
While social media has its uses, it also lends itself to significant abuses.
As Pogo might say, when it comes to Facebook, we have met the enemy and he is us.
P.S. Ironically, after whining about the tagsale “whore” admins, that same woman posted on her FB page about how much SHE HATES HER DOG.
Maybe someone should call ASPCA or PETA?