Facebook is the most popular form of online communication in existence, partly due to the fact that there are so few rules that govern what is appropriate to post on it.
While semi-nude photos and political outbursts certainly will not harm any open-minded individuals personally, there are more subversive ways to turn a seemingly nice way to keep in touch with people into an outlet for useless titillation and disrespect; for example, letting a convicted, self-confessed murderer keep her Facebook profile up, and allowing her “friends” to post messages of support.
The murderer in question is 30-year-old Farrah Strength of Carrollton, Ga. who was convicted on March 10 of murdering Marcy Elliott last year. Strength got a plea deal and was sentenced to life in prison plus 10 years, but is eligible for parole after serving 30 years.
Just a few weeks ago, while browsing a few articles online about her case, I came across a link to the Facebook page of the killer, who went under the alias ‘Casper Strength.’ Marcy Elliott was a friend of mine, and stumbling upon this page upset me very much; I do have a personal take on this matter.
On her wall, Strength made several posts from January 2010, until she confessed to killing Marcy in late July 2010. Following this, several of her friends continued to post on her wall, a few saying they missed her and more writing messages of support. Revealingly, not one of these “friends” posted a message of condolence on Marcy’s Facebook page, or on the memorial “Remembering Marcy Elliott” page some of Marcy’s loved ones set up. To my knowledge, none of them have even sent a condolence message to Marcy’s family, either.
One friend of Strength’s even lashed out at Marcy’s loved ones, saying they should “STFU. You don’t know she did it”—after Strength herself had confessed to the murder.
Facebook administrators should think before allowing people who have been accused of violent crimes to maintain their Facebook pages. Why is it legal for those pages to be kept up after people have been convicted of crimes, especially one of Farrah Strength’s magnitude, to have such a public outlet for their feelings? Even though Farrah has not posted on her page since turning herself in, she would be free to post on it if she were ever given access to the Internet.
I am not the only one who has voiced these concerns—there is a law pending in South Carolina proposing a stop to inmates attempting to make posts online, after an inmate attempted to use a smuggled-in cell phone to make posts online.
Freedom of speech may be legal in the United States, except libel and slander. Even though she is in prison, Strength technically has the right to say whatever she wants about her crime. Certain privileges should be taken from her, while still keeping her right to free speech intact. Eliminating her access to the Internet and prohibiting her from having a Facebook page or any other way to post hurtful messages directed toward anyone would be a suitable compromise.
People should use their right to freedom of speech more responsibly. Strength and her friends may have the freedom to say what they want about her crime, but they should take the feelings of the people who lost a loved one as a result of that crime into their conscience.