That’s the problem with Facebook.
People get to air their fact-free opinions, and they get to vent in anger with scant consideration for fairness.
Before Facebook, such venting would be confined to a few close friends, the people in your house and maybe a colleague or two.
And opinions would similarly be restricted to those people in your circle who were inclined to humour you.
And unless you were confronted a week later by someone you offended with your utterings, these things used to have a relatively short lifespan.
The same thing used to go for gossip and airing the family’s dirty laundry.
We all knew what was happening when the auntie with the curlers under her doekie was leaning over the neighbour’s wall with a cigarette in her hand.
Well, that wall has now gone digital and the neighbour is the entire world, and if you’re not careful, you will become the Twitter meme of the week.
Recently we had another few examples of exactly how ugly these things can get.
First there was the arrest of the man suspected of burning down parliament.
Social media had all manner of theories and speculations about the man being a scapegoat, the motives and how we are being hoodwinked.
These are not forensic investigators, intelligence operatives, or even crime specialists.
These are just ordinary people ready and willing to “expose” a conspiracy around every corner, using a platform that gives them an audience.
Speaking of expose, there was also the matter of Tasneem Delate, who got a lot of sympathy after she went on a rant about the terrible service received from police officers and nursing staff.
The internet felt for her and rallied behind her.
The problem is, most of what she said was a lie and she was caught out when the cops investigated.
It makes very little sense, other than the need for attention in a world where attention is seemingly all that matters.
In the dirty laundry department, social media also had a field day with the Wafeeq Gamieldien story.
He was outed by his wife as a joller who, according to her now-deleted post, also contracted HIV, which he may have passed on to his many lovers.
It is an ugly story whichever way you look at it and one that never should have seen the light of day – if for no other reason other than the absence of verifiable fact and the many people’s lives it could possibly leave in ruins.
While Facebook and other social media platforms are duk besig to try and stamp out fake news on a global scale, I’m not sure how they aim to tackle stories like these that eat away at our decency and our sense of community.
Right now, it is completely out of control and left to the better judgement of us mere mortals.
And clearly, we are doing a terrible job of it.