Yesterday, after Kristen started frantically texting me during a meeting that indeed, the Facebook bug is not a hoax and that we have dozens of screenshots of our private direct messages appearing on our walls, things got interesting.
(First of all, please read the post and see how to take down the public posts immediately. Especially if any are from me, heh.)
It’s been fascinating to see the responses we received in comments, by email, and on every social media channel, which all seem to fall into one of these 10 categories:
1. Wow, this is horrible. I found tons of my private messages on my wall, and thank you so much for letting me know.
2. Wow, this is horrible. I’ve looked into it too, and here is even more information I uncovered that might be helpful.
3. You must be mistaken. You are not capable of remembering what was a private message 2 years ago and these were just items posted to your wall.
4. It did not happen to me and therefore it did not happen.
5. Snopes denied it four days ago and so you are wrong.
6. If this were real, wouldn’t a big media outlet besides bloggers have written about it first?
7. Why would anyone care about this anyway? So what? Why is this a big deal?
8. I’m glad I’m not on Facebook nor do I transmit private information over the internet in any way. I am superior to you all.
9. If you post anything on Facebook in any way you deserve it.
10. Ignore it and take your pants off.
(Okay, that last one was just from Mommy Naniboobo but it made me laugh.)
fairly benign private message visible on a public timeline. Who signs public posts? No one.
fairly benign private message from my own cousin who only corresponds to me through DM, visible on my public timeline
Typical message board comments [one more added]
Oddly enough, the deniers (#3-6) are quite adamant in denying. And hate to go here, but they are pretttty much all men.
Reading between the lines, what I was getting is “oh you stupid females. You know nothing about tech.” (As were Kristen and Julie who did a lot of legwork on this.) At least until I found Phil Gerbyshak’s post and see he’s getting hammered too. Instead of asking questions, they demand proof. When you show them proof, they deny the proof. And then they tell you that they haven’t seen it so your proof doesn’t count (#4). Or that you’re stupid (#3). And then in the end, it always circles back to #6.
(Rather ironic that now techies are looking for the mainstream media to validate a blogger story, instead of the other way around. When’s the last time you heard “It’s on CNN so it must be true!” Hey, at least the French press and government is still unconvinced of the “you are all mistaken” PR response and continues to investigate it more fully.)
I keep thinking of politics. And religion. And culture wars. And swiftboats. And any dogma in which your essential need to be right trumps any new or compelling information that might be presented to sway you. Or your need to believe that such a thing is impossible. Or your need to be reassured that something so potentially awful and embarrassing could never happen.
There’s a great piece by David Ropeik in Psychology Today about why changing someone’s mind is hard to do. There’s all kinds of interesting Darwinian survivalist stuff in there; but I keep thinking about the simple line:
People who feel good about themselves are more likely to be open-minded.
Which isn’t to say that I can’t feel good about myself and still have strong opinions. Or that everyone who is refuting this story is self-loathing. But it’s a line that’s going to stick with me when my instinct–as it often is, admittedly–is to deny a possible truth in the face of a whole lot of evidence.