When your source is Facebook

More and more often I find myself turning to Facebook for information about my cases. It’s amazing the kind of stuff you can find on there. Mostly, as I’ve said, I use it for photographs. But I can find other information about a missing person on Facebook. And my list of missing persons Facebook pages now stands at 650 links.

Sometimes, though, I’m not really sure how to cite my source when I do find something. For instance, the other day I found a photo of a missing guy on Facebook, and some additional information about him, such as the fact that he was an alcoholic and attended AA meetings. This was the only photo of him that I could find anywhere.

The person who put it on Facebook was, apparently, an acquaintance of the MP’s daughter, not someone close to the MP; in fact I’m not sure she even knew him at all. And she had made that post years ago. If I listed her Facebook page as a source she might not like that, her page being linked to an alcoholic missing person. She might not even remember her post from way back when.

So I wasn’t really sure what to do with that.

And here’s another question: if you are researching an MP and find she’s had a slew of arrests driving under the influence and public intoxication, several times a year for quite a few years up until her disappearance, should you list the MP as an alcoholic even though no one has outright said it?

If I was in charge of how missing persons casefiles were written everywhere

For clarity’s sake I hereby announce the following rules, effective immediately:

  1. For the purpose of missing person descriptions, the hair color “auburn” no longer exists. All MPs’ hair that was once listed as auburn shall now be classified as either brown or red.
  2. Similarly, the hair color “sandy” shall also be discarded and replaced by brown, blonde or red, depending on the shade.
  3. Tattoos, scars etc., shall not be said to be on the shoulder unless they are draped over the top of the shoulder like a strap. Instead they shall be listed as either on the back or on the upper arm, depending on exact placement of said mark.