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We should be reminded of dangers of social media

Staff Report • Feb 13, 2012 at 8:58 AM

It almost sounds too incredible to believe, but law enforcement officials say a brutal double homicide in Johnson County may have been sparked by anger over being “unfriended” on Facebook.

Marvin Enoch “Buddy” Potter Jr., 60, and Jamie Lynn Curd, 38, were charged with first-degree murder last week in the shooting deaths of Billy Clay Payne Jr. and Billie Jean Hayworth at their home in Mountain City on Jan. 31. Both victims were shot in the head and Payne had his throat cut. The couple’s 6-month-old baby was unharmed in the attack, and was found in his dead mother’s arms.

Investigators say Payne and Hayworth had complained to police that Potter’s daughter was harassing them after they deleted her as a friend on the social networking site. This tragedy, while not indicative of what usually happens when someone changes their status on Facebook, does remind us all that social media sites — for better or worse — do command a lot of attention. And it’s not always of the wholesome variety.

Posting vital personal information about oneself on a social media website is never a good idea, regardless of who you are or where you work. It’s particularly not something a child or teenager should ever do.

As we’ve noted in this space many times before, too many Americans — young and old — are under the impression that only friends are going to see such information. That’s not always the case. 

The truth is the digital age has its own high-tech versions of stalkers, “Peeping Toms” and sex predators, and it’s time all Americans come to that realization.

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