U.K. Police ‘Facebook Car’ Used to Break Up Online ArgumentsBy: Mike Fossum - March 13, 2012
A U.K. police inspector has recently claimed that his precinct uses a patrol car that is assigned to go from house to house to break up fights about things posted on Facebook. The senior inspector, who goes by the handle ‘Inspector Gadget‘ on his blog, reveals how the patrol car set aside for “non-urgent matters” has been renamed the Facebook car.
The inspector goes on to say that the ‘diary car’ (also referred to as the ‘pending car’) is driven around by a hapless constable to log complaints people have about Facebook threats, insults, defamation, defriendings, etc. The inspector describes the notion of the Facebook car as essentially being a dead-end way for people to get extra attention – “These jobs never go anywhere. When it comes down to it, no one ever wants to support any kind of prosecution. Listening to these people is like watching the Jeremy Kyle show.” As a sidenote, Jeremy Kyle is akin to a more provoking version of Jerry Springer – but after sampling a few clips of his show, it is evident that American talkshow wildlife is far more volatile than anything in the U.K.
The job of driving the Facebook car is not one that requires much ambition, and a lot of the calls surround the dealings of sad, pathetic people. “Almost all of this conflict is between vaguely related family groups, usually started over the genetic origin of whichever baby happens to be screaming in the buggy at the time,” adds the inspector, reporting from “Ruraltown,” to keep things anonymous. “What they all want is attention. Attention from each other, attention from us, attention from their housing officer, attention from anyone who can stave off the boredom of a life spent in confusion, childbirth, and conflict.” Harsh.
Still, the people who call might actually expect those they complain about to actually delete nasty wall-posts and embarrassing photo tags. In the U.S., all sorts of things can happen to a person if they misuse Facebook. In February, a man was forced to write nice things about his wife on his Facebook wall, or spend 60 days in jail. But in the U.K., these social networking tiffs appear to mostly just come and go.