It's nothing new for me to warn about social networking, linking you to the latest example of someone who was done in – legally speaking, of course – by their own postings. But I gotta say, I've never seen it done quite the way this L.A. Times article does it.
Here are the facts; a man and a woman were in a private residence. Another male, a bail bondsman, entered through an unlocked sliding-glass door, an argument ensued and the bondsman was shot and killed. Now, follow the progression of the article. The 'authorities', if you will, provided virtually no information. But the 'Times examined the Facebook & MySpace pages of all three individuals involved. Then, like assembling some sort of puzzle, they used excerpts from each to update the original piece.
The result? Although the article doesn't speculate, the innuendo is clear; the selected posts suggest that the woman was caught with one man by the other, resulting in his murder. But how do we know this? Where are the facts?
The story is located in a section called "L.A. Now", which is described as "the Los Angeles Times’ news blog for Southern California." In their defense, I suppose they would say that as bloggers, they're not subject to the same journalistic standards as their 'official' newspaper.
But I'll tell you, this reads like a gossip article from a supermarket tabloid. It also illustrates how three separate people, innocently posting on their social networks, had their personal lives invaded in a way none of them could have ever anticipated. Yes, I know one of them is dead, but he had two children – and possibly other family members – who will be affected by the publicity.
Shame on you, L.A. Times.