Outline "Urgent" message circulating on Facebook warns users not to accept friend requests from Ponce Martin, Lorraine Miyama, Dario Murgiondo, Montaldo G, Blue Belen, Julieta Montaldo, Jester Fan, Luly Carbal or Martina Di Stefano because these people are trying to access photos of children.
There is no evidence whatsoever that supports the claims in this absurd and pointless warning. Many Facebook users share the names specified in the message. Spreading such scurrilous nonsense will do nothing other than damage the reputations of innocent people.
DO NOT accept friend requests of these people: PONCE MARTIN, LORRAINE Miyama, DARIO MURGIONDO, Montaldo G, BLUE BELEN, JULIETA Montaldo, Jester FAN, Luly CARBAL, MARTINA DI STEFANO They are trying to access photos of children. Copy and paste on your wall! URGENT!!!! !!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!
Yet another breathless paedophile warning is rocketing around social network Facebook. According to this "urgent" message, finished off with dozens of exclamation marks presumably to drive home just how terribly important it is, a group of sinister people with the names Ponce Martin, Lorraine Miyama, Dario Murgiondo, Montaldo G, Blue Belen, Julieta Montaldo, Jester Fan, Luly Carbal and Martina Di Stefano are trying to access photos of children. To thwart these would be evildoers, recipients are advised not to accept friend requests from any of them.
However, there is no evidence to support the claims in this supposed warning. There are no credible reports that suggest that any of those named in the message have been attempting to access children's photographs inappropriately. Like the many other similar "warnings" that have preceded it, this message is nothing more than a scurrilous rumour and passing it on will do nothing whatsoever to protect children from online predators.
A fundamental problem with such warnings is that a great many people around the world are likely to share the names of those listed as perpetrators. Searches reveal that, on Facebook alone, there are dozens of users that have the same names as those specified in the "warning". Thus, even if a person named in one of these warnings did do something wrong, many others who share that name are likely to be unfairly affected by such accusations. Such unfounded accusations can potentially ruin the reputations of entirely innocent individuals. For this reason, sending on totally unsubstantiated accusations such as this is irresponsible and reprehensible. It is simply immoral to repost a message in a public arena that accuses a person of wrongdoing without even the vaguest shred of evidence to support such an accusation.
Moreover, the tactic described in this warning is in fact rather absurd. Why would those intent on accessing photographs of children risk exposure and discovery by trying to get to such images by making friends via Facebook? Especially by using their real names and Facebook profiles? Literally hundreds of thousands of images of children are available via a simple search engine image search. And of course there is a vast array of websites, magazines, books, catalogues and other publications that contain images of children, all of which can be accessed anonymously.
We all have a responsibility to protect children online. However, sending on silly and utterly unfounded rumours that have the potential to hurt innocent people is certainly NOT going to help protect children. A much more sensible and effective course of action is to closely monitor your children's activities on Facebook and the Internet in general. Better yet, in the case of younger children, don't let them use Facebook at all. And, of course, be careful of what images and material you post on your Facebook account in the first place and ensure that your privacy settings are adequate for your circumstances.