Archbishop of Westminster Nichols ruffled some feathers when he told the Sunday Telegraph that the Internet and cell phones are "dehumanizing" community life. His comments come on the heels of the death of a 15-year-old girl who overdosed on painkillers after being taunted on social networking site Bebo. Nichols went on to say that while these sites do build a community, it's not a well-rounded one. The sites create 'transient relationships' and place too much of an emphasis on popularity, as determined by the number of 'friends' a person might have. Nichols told the Sunday Telegraph, "Among young people often a key factor in their committing suicide is the trauma of transient relationships. They throw themselves into a friendship or network of friendships, then it collapses and they're desolate."
Ruth Gledhill at the Times Online argues that, instead, social networking could lessen a person's chances of committing suicide. Even bolder, the Himmelgarten Cafe goes as far as to call Nichols's comments "foolish." While criticism of Facebook and MySpace often brings about knee-jerk reactions of "Luddite!," Nichols may be right when he suggests that teenagers need a community that emphasizes "a genuine growing together and a mutual sharing in an interest that is of some significance." [From: Telegraph, via Engadget and The Daily Beast]
Facebook is a great venue for humiliating oneself with ranting and raving, but, like most things, people can take things too far. Give someone a soapbox (or in this case, a Facebook group) and there are sure to be others crazy enough to follow them. Here are some examples of Facebook groups that crossed the line and were banned from the site.
Assasinate Evo Morales Here's a good way to get your group banned -- call for the assassination of a political leader. Titled 'Global Collection to Hire a Sharpshooter to Liquidate Evo Morales' was taken down by Facebook since it bans threatening violence. No surprises here.
Surrey, BC Terrorist Group A Facebook group supporting the International Sikh Youth Federation, a banned terrorist organization, was taken down by Canadian Police. Authorities were tipped off to the group because its page depicted a young person holding a prohibited gun, which was eventually traced back to 49-year old Bahadur Sandhur. Police seized it and two others when they investigated his home.
I Need Sex Group Laura Michaels of Bristol, England, created a Facebook group called 'I Need Sex.' According to the UK Sun, the group had more than 100 members after being up for only one hour. Michaels claims to have ended up sleeping with 50 of the group's members -- literally half of the group. Facebook opposes this type of personals-ad use, so the group was taken down.
KKK group Facebook recently shut down a group called the 'Isle of Man KKK.' The group called for the elimination of newcomers from the UK island and featured a picture of a hooded Ku Klux Klan member. Thankfully, Facebook's terms of service prohibits content that is hateful or threatening.