Facebook Police (Weekend Poll)

by: wheatmeister

December 7, 2013

When it comes to LDS people and Facebook status updates or photos, what are the boundaries?  Should ward members or bishops ever intervene if someone’s status updates or photos violate LDS standards?  Or should people consider Facebook friendships a privilege they should treat with respect by not policing each others’ behavior?  What if someone was doing something truly harmful or unwise?  What role does the “community” of friends have, if any?

Is it appropriate for a bishop to question a ward member on his or her Facebook usage? (Choose up to two)

  • No, it's none of the ward or bishop's business what people say and do on Facebook unless the member in question asks. (41%, 30 Votes)
  • No, Facebook is easily misinterpreted. (24%, 18 Votes)
  • No, it's important to discourage tattling. (24%, 18 Votes)
  • Yes, if the member's status updates or photos may require discipline. (23%, 17 Votes)
  • Yes, if the bishop feels prompted by the spirit to do so. (20%, 15 Votes)
  • No, Facebook is private and personal. (18%, 13 Votes)
  • Yes, if other ward members are uncomfortable. (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 74

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Has anyone ever approached you about a status update or photo they thought was inappropriate?  Have you ever unfriended someone for a status update or photo you didn’t like?  Where do you draw the line.



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14 Responses to Facebook Police (Weekend Poll)

  1. Ben S on December 7, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Uh, missing a verb there. Question? Consult? Ask?
    “Is it appropriate for a bishop to a ward member on his or her Facebook usage?”

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  2. hawkgrrrl on December 7, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    Ben S – wow, that missing verb sure does open the possibilities! Thanks, and it’s fixed.

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  3. dba.brotherp on December 7, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    I don’t friend ward members or work colleagues. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s not good to let those worlds collide with your Facebook life. Now, if a current friend becomes a ward member or work colleague, I’m in a world of trouble!

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  4. Dave on December 7, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    I don’t think anyone who posts on Facebook should have any expectation of privacy. With blogs everyone knows they are publishing to all the world. The problem with Facebook is that some people think it is somehow confidential or semi-private, then get upset if posted info gets circulated. Those people need to get a little smarter about the consequences of public speech.

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  5. Ris on December 7, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    I got called into the bishops office for something and tacked onto the end was a second reason for the visit- I had “liked” a fellow members status update having to do with the Boy Scouts and gay boys/men. An encouraging post about her hope for a change in the policies and the good people she knew who happened to be gay, and I “liked” it. That “like” got me a reading from the CHI on the churches stance on homosexuality. It was unclear whether it was a warning or what, it was all rather uncomfortable. I stayed quiet since my stance does not line up perfectly with the churches stance, but I know there were at least 10-15 other members who liked that post… I have no idea if he called in everyone (but I’m thinking he did) but it seems like a waste of his and others time. And also it made me uncomfortable that he was paying attention to my and others online life (though we are not “friends”). I try to live an authentic life, what you see is what you get. Online and off, I am not that different so I don’t worry too much. I’m sure there are instances where it is appropriate for a bishop to intervene (safety of self or others, clear violations on temple covenants that could effect calling) but not always (politics for one)…

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  6. Will on December 7, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    Facebook is an enormous waste of time. People need to make real friends. It is like pronography a fantasy world.

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  7. hawkgrrrl on December 8, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    Will – I disagree that FB is a waste of time. On the contrary, you can maintain friendships with high school friends, mission companions, extended family, or former roommates that you would not normally bother to maintain. You can crowdsource ideas. You can avoid going to any reunions ever again, which are always a total waste of time; without traveling a far distance you can see which friends have gotten fat, bald, gray, divorced, whatever. You can stay connected with your family all at once instead of just one by one. You still have closer friends and those who over time become emeritus friends, but it’s really not either / or.

    Ris – now THAT’S what sounds like an enormous waste of time to me, trying to police the posts people like. I love how some members seem to think it’s a great idea to pick off members of the herd rather than making all feel welcome to come to Christ regardless of something they liked on a status update.

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  8. Thoreau on December 8, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    Some quick bullets.
    Facebook is good for connecting.
    Some of the counsel church leaders have given regarding Facebook though well intentioned is out of line.
    Choose your friends wisely.

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  9. Niklas on December 9, 2013 at 3:04 AM

    Why should FB be any different than any other aspect of life? If the question was ‘Is it appropriate for a bishop to question a ward member on his or her behaviour?’ what would the answer be? In my opinion it would be yes, sometimes it is necessary. But obviously dependig on what the behaviour is. Same with Facebook.

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  10. New Iconoclast on December 10, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Frankly, if my bishop wants to keep up on my Facebook, he’s welcome to it. However, I’d be opposed to having it be a general practice, since I don’t feel like my opinions need to be policy.

    THAT’S what sounds like an enormous waste of time to me, trying to police the posts people like.

    Amen to that. I’m sure I have any number of opinions which would be unpopular to many people in my ward, especially as relates to Church history and current practice. (In fact, I’ve been told that more than once! :) ) However, I’m not sure any of it is actionable. If the bishop wants to drag me aside and read me the CHI, it might be a good discussion, and we might both learn something.

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  11. ANON on December 10, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    #9 I think this really gets into the issue of grown a$$ adults tattling like children on one another. People who reported being questioned by a bishop regarding something on Facebook was often the direct result of another ward member telling the bishop. I sincerely doubt most bishops have the time or interests to peruse most ward members’ Facebook pages.

    If you haven’t had another ward member tattle on you to the bishop then you may not understand. It happened to me and when I was called in I felt ambushed, betrayed, disrespected and angry. I no longer could trust anyone knowing that even my close friends were gossiping behind my back. In my situation my friend reported something that I said to her in confidence to the bishop. It destroyed our friendship.

    Unless a minor child is in danger, ward members who report on other ward members to the bishop for perceived infractions or sins are backbiting, gossiping, and tattling like children. I have no respect for people who do such things.

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  12. el oso on December 10, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    I have been tattled on (but not from facebook) and had an unexpected discussion with the bishop. Like New Iconoclast said, we both learned something from that encounter. In this case it was the bishop who was schooled in correct church policies. I think he also learned to discount even well sourced allegations a little bit more. I just learned about the identity of well-intentioned busybodied rats. Not that I did not already know about their existence.

    Facebook definitely can empower the well-intentioned busybody.

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  13. rich on December 10, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    The Bishop should never be on facebook and should never act on information from facebook.

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  14. Ris on December 10, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    ANON I’m sorry that happened to you. That was my experience also and the reason for the interview. Ambushed, betreyed, disrespected and angry don’t even begin to cover it :/

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