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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Be Careful Who You Accept As A Facebook Friend

We all have heard the stereotypes linked to the Internet, and the dangers and risks involved with meeting people online. For instance, the person you are talking to can easily be a sex offender, and we have come along way from the initial fears of the Internet and what people are capable of doing on it. Nowadays, with Facebook being used by millions around the globe, we have come to see it as being harmless. It has got to the point where you find yourself being shocked when you are friend requested by family members that you thought were not at all native to this new media world. And it can be awkward the first time you get a request from an aunt or other elderly family member. After recently watching a film in one of my classes called Catfish, I think it is important to note that Internet can still be a very dangerous platform. The issue that arises in the film Catfish can make us reevaluate just how simple it is for people to find us who are not at all the person they say they are.

The film Catfish was one that I had never heard of, and was one that I was not particularly interested in watching. Personally, I am not a fan of documentary style films since they often carry a bad reputation due to their authenticity always being questioned. About ten minutes into the film, I was completely hooked, and I noticed all of my other classmates were as well. Catfish is a film that follows the development of the long distance relationship between Yanniv, who we know as Nev, and Megan who he met through Facebook. Nev who lived in New York received a painting of one of his published photographs one day from an eight-year-old girl who lived in Michigan. The painting was phenomenal, even more so coming from a young girl. The two build a sort of pen pal relationship via Facebook, and phone calls. Abbey the young girl introduces her family to Nev on Facebook, and it is her nineteen year old sister, Megan, who he begins this long distance relationship. As the story begins to unravel, we learn that Nev’s new love interest is not at all whom he believed; in fact Megan Faccio did not even exist.

By the end of the film we learn that Angela, who is Megan’s supposed mother, created a complete fake character and lie that made Nev believe their was a Megan who genuinely liked him. When Nev confronts Angela by showing up in her small Michigan town, we learn just how complex Angela was in terms of creating lies. The fact that she was able to make up 15 different Facebook profiles is simply frightening. The obvious cause for Angela’s action was clearly her attempt to live a live a life outside her small town, and away from her home where she took care of two mentally ill kids, and other domestic problems. I tried to see her living situation as a way to understand her, but in no way did I see it as justifying.

The story of Nev was one that really did take place, and leaving aside the question of authenticity, this film can help us realize the Internet is still a very dangerous place. It is not at all difficult to create a fake identity so we should assume that this is something taking place. Even if Facebook and the Internet has become home to our family and friends, we should be more weary with what we do on the world wide web.


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