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?

8 thoughts on “When your source is Facebook

  1. Diamond Lil October 29, 2018 / 7:03 pm

    Facebook – don’t link directly if it’s only one post made years ago. If you cannot find another legit site about AA meetings or alcoholism, don’t include it.

    Arrests- public record, do not label her, other than to list charges due to behavior/habits, unless you find her social circle has stated addiction issues.

  2. Susan October 29, 2018 / 9:18 pm

    I would be cautious making any references to a persons diagnosis or involvement in any “closed” type meetings or associations. It is very difficult to know exactly where to draw the line when dealing with a missing or murdered person, when every detail can be vital in solving a case. For instance, I was reading about a 30 year old missing woman, with long dark hair who wore gold jewelry, and pretty much hung out in the dark alley-ways with known homeless alcoholics. In another article about the same woman, given her description, minus her associations, it could be surmised that she was an average woman who had stopped to chat with friends downtown. If we the readers did not have all the information about the woman’s known associations, we would not tend to keep our eyes open for her in the homeless community.
    Most people describing a persons activities or associations in cases like these, seem to be doing so from a nonjudgmental place. But there are also others that are vicious and mean.

    • Meaghan October 30, 2018 / 5:12 pm

      Not long ago there was a guy I put up and I knew his sister had been saying he disappeared just after she filled out papers for him to go to an inpatient rehab program for drugs. So, because they don’t admit you to rehab if you just want a vacation, I said he was addicted to drugs. His sister got very upset with me. She was okay with my saying he was about to go to rehab for drugs, but not okay with my saying he was an addict, although it’s really six of one and half a dozen of the other. 🤷‍♀️

  3. Patrick Kerrigan October 29, 2018 / 9:41 pm

    I think that the more information we have the better. I get upset especially with the fact that how many cases have very few details. As a former police officer and detective at a VA hospital, we had a certain expectation to obtain as much information on the cases we investigated. When we were upgraded, the officers were expected to take a case as far as possible.

    It was a rare situation that the detectives would take it over. So, it bothers me when I come across cold cases such as on Iowa Cold Cases, and the agency does not provide few details. It forces me to wonder if they properly investigated the case. Their is an 11 year old girl missing from a location in Iowa. All, they have provided, was her name, age and date of her disappearance. They then ask for the public’s help. How can we help if they can’t or won’t provide more information. What, if we lived in her town, when she disappeared, how could we help, if we don’t know the when, where, how, she was abducted, ran away or whatever.

    The agency involved, should make the effort to gather as much information as possible. If they need assistance then they can contact the next higher agency, county, state, and t the federal agencies.

    I think mentioning that they had addiction issues is important. Do we need to know they have attended AA or NA, is debatable. It might be more important fact to know, for the investigator, to help focus his search, and to develop places to check or use them to spread the word, that he or she has used their programs in the past.

  4. Jaclyn October 30, 2018 / 12:30 am

    According to AA’s Big Book, a person should not be called an alcoholic unless they self-profess to be an alcoholic. That’s not to say that someone else may have heard the person profess to be an alcoholic and thus has determined they have the ‘right’ to refer to them as such. Friends and family members of a person that appears to drink to the extent that it affects others are encouraged by AA to refer to them as “someone who’s drinking affects my life.” In other words, it’s about how the drinking affects the relationship.

    • Meaghan October 30, 2018 / 5:06 pm

      I never knew any of that stuff. I don’t know anyone in AA.

    • Vincent October 30, 2018 / 6:45 pm

      I have lived in Bolivia for the past two years. If a person cannot be called an alcoholic unless he or she self-professes to be one, then there are almost no alcoholics in Bolivia. Yet excessive and harmful drinking is very common here. Alcoholism is rampant. It is the single biggest social problem in Bolivia, by far. Still, very, very few people acknowledge that they have a problem. Chronic, extreme alcohol consumption is just considered normal. Young men passed out on the sidewalk are a common sight. Only rarely does one of these young men seek help. Their peers, and Bolivian society in general, consider binge drinking merely one of those things that young men do.

  5. Patrick Kerrigan November 1, 2018 / 8:12 pm

    I would assume, that if you attend especially AA, that you admit that you have a problem with alcohol, and want the help and support that they provide.

    The old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, had a major problem, with alcohol abuse. I have no problem identifying that they have a problem. This might provide investigative leads that may help focus a search.

    The Salvation Army has a Missing Person’s Bureau, that may be of help. Also, there are a number of well known homeless shelters around the country. One of them is the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago. It’s been around for almost 100 years.

    So, we need to know as much as possible on these people. There is a woman, whose mother has been missing for a number of years. She has not held back, that her mother is homeless. She has been searching the shelters and the streets of California, for years.

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