The Incident

I love Facebook. Among other things it’s often where I go to vent. I’ll post a quick update about little things the kids do that drive me crazy. Or I’ll ask about where in the city I can buy a replacement element for my stove. Or I’ll complain that my PVR didn’t record my favourite show. Almost instantly, I’ll have several responses. Answers to my questions; witty comments that make me laugh; sarcastic one-liners that lighten the mood. I can’t tell you how many times I have laughed out loud over Facebook – way too many to possibly count.

Late last spring, I vented on Facebook about something that was happening at the kids’ school. Nothing that affected the kids – it was related to school politics and the school council. What followed was a lengthy back and forth. Over 30 comments: others venting, asking questions, discussing. There were angry comments, sarcastic comments and some funny comments. All in all, I actually thought it was a pretty good discussion. I felt better knowing that others felt the same as me and that people were questioning the process. No harm done. Business as usual.

Then.

Then I found out – quite by accident, actually – that someone, one of my Facebook “friends” had copied the wall exchange, edited it and put it in an email. That email was circulated widely. It was sent to the committee that was responsible for the issue that was the topic of the FB discussion (sorry for being kind of cryptic here – there is no way I’m going to post the contents of the wall exchange here. If you really want to know more about it, email me) AND it was also sent to the principal, vice principal, all the class reps, members of the school council, at least two teachers and lord only knows who else. My FB privacy settings are such that only one of my “friends” could have seen and copied the wall exchange.

Did you catch the part about how it was edited? Yes, the cowardly, heartless, unethical, mother fucking asshole (CHUMFA) who did this edited the wall exchange before circulating it. It was taken out of context and then changed.

Worse than that, when it was emailed around it was presented as something posted publicly – as in, on a public Facebook page, for the parents, students, teachers and whole world to read. This, of course, is abso-fucking-lutely not true.

Now people, I know what Facebook is. I know the “risks” involved when you post something on Facebook. That still does make it okay for some CHUMFA to take it and pass it on to everybody and their brother.

We all take “risks” all the time. Anytime we send an email, write something down on paper or talk about something in public there is a risk that the email could be forwarded, a paper could be photocopied or scanned, or that someone can overhear something that they shouldn’t. Yes, some of us are “riskier” but we cannot accept the idea that just because people take a “risk” that it somehow makes it okay for another to violate and betray.

Even worse still, is that I don’t know who this CHUMFA is. I’ve quietly asked around. Some of the people really don’t know where it came from (because it was copied again and pasted into a new email — there were at least three different emails that I know of), some people claim to have “forgotten” who originally sent it, or they claim that they no longer have access to the email account that received the email.

Whatever.

I get it.

Some people think the privacy of some CHUMFA is more important than mine. Some people will lie to protect this CHUMFA’s privacy. Some people just don’t want to betray this CHUMFA but in doing so, continue to betray me.

At the very least, I want to unfriend and block this person. For all I know, they are out there lurking, just waiting for the opportunity to fuck me over again.

I have spoken at length to the school administration. They don’t want to take sides. The person I spoke to does not understand Facebook. As recently as last week the administration made reference to this incident as something that was posted “publicly” on the internet – as if it were out there on a website for everyone to see. Oh those crazy people and their interweb.

thump, thump, thump

(What’s that sound, you ask? Oh, that’s just me banging my head against the wall.)

The administration wants everybody to play nice and get along. What they don’t understand is that the not-nice act was violating my privacy and copying, editing and circulating something that wasn’t theirs. The not-nice act wasn’t my wall exchange.

Worth noting, I think, is that the process that was the topic of the FB wall exchange was halted by the Superintendent after they got complaints from a number of different parents AND after an acknowledgement from the school administration that the process had not been done correctly in the first place. So there.

I’m still holding out hope that I’ll find out who did this to me. That someone will reveal to me who originally sent this email out (an email from an anonymous account, perhaps?). In the meantime I’m still here, being me on Facebook. Refusing to censor myself because that CHUMFA is still out there.

And by the way? I still love Facebook.

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5 thoughts on “The Incident

  1. Stephanie

    CHUMFA! Love the acronym. Dislike the CHUMFA individual. I hope someone cuts and pastes THIS into an email and sends it to your council, so they can stop acting like an ignorant ostrich with its head in the sand.
    Keep on keeping on my friend!
    I’m listening!

  2. Patience

    I totally understand you. I would be driven to hire a PI or something. I’m the type who obsessed for hours when some swim goggles went missing! LOL
    I think people are protecting CHUMFA because they realize that he/she would become a smear on the pavement if you knew their identity. (and rightly so)
    I don’t understand what would drive someone to take the time to do this; so premeditated all the editing and what they thought it would accomplish except for stirring the pot. But my experience at studying behaviour is that if it worked once; this person will be at it again either online or publicly and they make not be so careful and then they will be outed. I hope so.

  3. jenny

    What a pain. Was linked to your blog, so just checking it out. Your quote sounds exactly something like my husband would say.

  4. Angela

    Chumfa…classic! Can girls be assholes too..’cause I know quite a few of those then..even dare I say some would consider me one. I had no idea about the editing and reposting it different ways, but no matter how or who, it is clear that the only thing it accomplished was even more exposure on how wrong and petty some people and the process for that, and other things have been. No more, we’re not gonna take it. Rock on sister!

  5. Janeen

    Wow! Asshole or Chumfa isn’t quite strong enough to describe the person who did that to you. Thanks for posting this though. It serves as a warning to us all that your “friends” may not really be your friends and even though you have privacy settings in place, nothing is private. I’m so this happened to you. I hope that one day you find out who did it.