When I see something negative on Facebook, I will sometimes comment, or attach a comment to it in which I object to the statement. While I have refrained from posting things like there is a “gay mafia” controlling the film industry, because it is not a statement which I feel are true, I can make clear that I do not support this statement, or any other, based on my personal political beliefs. Sometimes a comment which I condemn, is something that someone has made because they hold a different point of view and have expressed it in this manner, and I do not challenge these points, but invite them to consider other, alternative points of view.
Sometimes, the same person who has gone on Facebook and made a judgmental comment, either online or in person, will then contact me, demanding that I delete my response to it, and warning me that I will be sued. I have not heard of this happening with other posts, but it has happened several times with mine.
In one case, an individual agreed with the post, and was able to append his own comment defending what was said. In another case, he decided to add a comment about the situation in which he was caught having a conversation with an employee on his personal laptop. But, he also had to explain the person to me as to why, despite disagreeing with the information he had, he had stated to me that he never discussed the issue with him, or would in future, without giving him prior notice. This discussion, of course, with other Facebook users, I took as somewhat irrelevant to his previous statement on the subject. When, I finally commented about the Facebook status after he had complained, he became furious and repeatedly warned me not to do so in the future. While he had come over to support me in the post on the subject, I now felt he had crossed the line and told him it was best he responded to me directly, after I asked him that he not directly respond to other Facebook users, he declined to do so. He was, however, unwilling to remove his comments about me on the post.
A third case involved a man who was standing at a long but short distance, and who commented that he had not cared for a one day piece I had written about him. His comment was in response to the article in which I said that, despite he and other members of the group, I personally do not use pornography, I felt that this group allows some use of pornography, although I do not personally go on and watch it. However, I did not identify the site on which the article was originally posted, and while I felt the pornography was in some ways relevant to the articles, many who follow the use of pornography on various sites, wanted to be precise, and the friend who made the comment identified himself. He threatened me that if I published the comment, I would be sued, and warned me against it. So, while I gave him a second chance to be accurate, he did not appear to want it, and I removed the post.
While I would never intend for my posts to offend anyone, if it is a personal attack on someone, I will still respond, and not merely to an opinion. It is just my way of responding to negativity on an issue, and has often been my way of encouraging those who have made these comments, or seen the comments, to think and talk more seriously about the issue that was being raised. In other cases, when it has been pointed out to me that I was posting information which had made someone unhappy with me personally, I also followed the same process. When a person makes an extreme statement online, such as to imply that a great deal of harm has occurred to me, I do not often see that person’s name in my online messages or comments, but I will, if he appears to make a subsequent comment, this I will say.
The bottom line is that if you are in disagreement with something posted online, even without identifying the person who made it, or in a way that makes me think of him, I will not be shy about telling you the reason why. Why? Because that does not mean that I am in the least bit afraid of lawsuits, or that I should. Quite the contrary. The person has the ability to bully you, and that I am very aware of, and the words I do or don’t use to put a stop to them, in my view, will have no impact on that. The words, if they have to be, will have no impact on either my actions or my intent to end the harassment.