Why Facebook can be bad

I happened upon something on Facebook the other day – a “Fanpage” that one of my friends had become a fan of, likely without thinking.  Whereas the majority of Fanpages consist of fanships such as “When I was a kid I used to blow on video games to make the work,” and “I bet this Pickle can get more fans than Nickleback,” this page was different:  it was a page devoted to single dads in California who are dealing with the court system.

California Fathers With Child Custody is the name of the Fanpage, although upon further inspection you learn that the man who started this (and one can only assume, the majority of his fans) does NOT actually have custody of his child.  The page consists of the basic layout, with a notes page being the only real explanation for the page or its purposes.  Contained within is one solitary note as follows:

 Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 12:02am
Welcome to our space on the internet for dads to chat with other dads, This site is meant to add help and surport for new fathers going through the battle and navagating through California’s broken legal system.

I have found that while California states its a non gender state in relation to child custody. B ut the system has been bias towards awarding the female custody regardless of how bad she or her family is.

I am now in a fight to save my son, Save him before he follows the family foot steps on his mom family. A brother currently on probation, and court ordered school. And a uncle thats a felon. Grand ma and Grand pa that are seperated but have a on again and off aain relationship.
This all goes down in a 3 bedroom home in Sacramaneto. The court system doesnt seem to care about this.

I drive 1000 miles a week to see my son. So I can be a disney dad as they call it. I get in california the right to father my son in malls and parking lots around sacramaneto. Does this work? No it does not.
A close person to me asked the other day. “why do you not have him in a stroller?” I repled ” I love him so much and that I see him so little that evey moment spent I want to be as close to him as I can.”

That made this person very upset. As it does make me upset as well. How can I be such a perfect dad, But have california legal system fail so bad to protect my son. To fail to keep him away from a family with such a poor track record of raise their own.

For this. I have made this page for all of us to stand togther.

Michael Manning

 People who cannot form simple, non-fragmented sentences do not deserve to have full custody of their children.  People who cannot even spell the capital city of their own state (Sacramento, Mr. Manning) do not deserve to have full custody of their children.  On the basis of education and ability to communicate effectively, I can see at least ten reasons why this man does not have custody of his child (if this is the way he presented himself in court, that is).

But it goes much further than the petty issues of proof-reading.  Someone who refers to himself as a “perfect dad” does not deserve to have custody of his child.  And this is why Facebook can be bad.

Facebook can be bad because every Tom, Dick and Nobody who wants to put together a Fanship of people banding together under some cause, can and will.  Facebook can further be bad because every person in the world stupid enough to “fan” this drivle, and gullible enough to believe it, now has information that is not only wrong, but dangerous.  Taking Mr. Manning and his “California Fathers” page for exemplory purposes only, this man is trying to band together men that do not have child custody (under the supposition of those that do), and to send out information that is – case in point – false.  

In Mr. Manning’s case, he goes on a rampage about his ex-wife who has a “dysfunctional” household (so he says), how he has to drive 1,000 miles to see his son in a mall, etc. etc. – between the spelling mistakes, fragmented sentences and typographic errors, those of us wise enough to see through it all are exposed to Mr. Manning’s unfortunate tale of how he was served justice.  If Mr. Manning chooses to live 1,000 miles away from his son, of course he will not have custody of his child, as the California Superior Court is inclined to award 50/50 custody, unless one of the parents proves that they are not deserved.  When the court makes a decision regarding custody, they do so after careful and meticulous investigation over what is in “the best interest of the child.”  If Mr. Manning has to see his son in “malls and parking lots,” this can only lead us to assume he has supervised visitation, which is reserved for the worst of the worst.  I find it highly unlikely that Mr. Manning is – as he puts it – “a perfect dad,” not only for the facts he presents in his Facebook rant, but primarily because no one is a perfect-anything.

This leads to the conclusion that Facebook can be bad because anyone that wants to can post this garbage on there, and everyone with only half a brain will buy into it.  And it can be worse than this unfortunate man who has had a rough time standing up to the legal system in California.  A few months ago, Geekologie posted a picture from someone’s Facebook page, where the kid’s sister had told their parents about him drinking, so he stole her “hook up list” and posted it for everyone to see.  I will admit that for a nanosecond this was funny, but to then consider that this list will be on the Internet forever (not to mention the immediate damage it can do to a person’s reputation) is worth considering.  Because anyone can post anything they like on Facebook (and just about anywhere on the Internet for that matter), people’s entire lives can be potentially ruined over a personal grievance.

Facebook can be bad because there is absolutely no control over it.  The only control there may be is the “report this post” link, but then the only people who truly look at these pages are the ones interested, who will rarely report but will take heart what is said – even if only subconsciously.  When I worked in politics, we always knew that the worst thing that could happen to your campaign was a negative attack.  Even if the attack is not true, there is always the lasting impression of the attack itself in people’s minds.  Thanks to Facebook (and the majority of the Internet), there is a virtual lasting impression of California Fathers, Geekologie’s Sister-Revenge, and every other ad hominem, half-cocked, useless posting out there.  On the other side of the coin is a more controlled Internet, but then we have sacrificed a certain level of our freedom to speech.  Facebook, Myspace, Twitter – the entire Internet – will never have any control over these useless, misinformed and often dangerous postings.  This is simply because whereas we can all recognize that there is a problem with such misinformation being out there, we always want to reserve the right to post it ourselves.

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