Early this morning, I woke up to a very irate private message on this blog’s soon to be defunct Facebook page. The person who wrote to me is apparently angry about a true crime blog article I reposted last year. This person claimed to be a family member of someone whose murder I had originally posted about in 2014, when I lived in Texas. They found the repost, decided it was inappropriate and “false”, and sent me a threatening message through my soon to be defunct Overeducated Housewife Facebook page.
I tried to respond to the person on my iPad, but because I didn’t have the app installed, I had to go on my computer. I sent a response to the person, explaining that the original post was written based on a newspaper article I read in my hometown paper in 2014. I don’t know anyone involved in the crime, but had simply read the newspaper article, was shocked by it, and wrote a reaction post that consisted of my opinions. The original post was based entirely on public information provided by the news. My opinions were mostly and genuinely sympathetic.
A few weeks after I wrote the original post in 2014, someone claiming to be from the family found it, and sent me a private message through the Facebook page. That person was upset, but hadn’t wanted me to remove the original post. Instead, they had asked me to expand on it in a follow up post, including information about how the local police department had failed the victims. They even chatted with me and provided more information about what happened. Naturally, I felt terrible for the person who contacted me, and could totally understand why they wanted someone to provide information that wasn’t in the papers. I was happy to write the follow up. I wrote the post, and they thanked me profusely and even wrote “God bless you”. That was the last I heard about it for over eight years. That post was visible on my original blog for almost five years, until I quit using Blogger.
I moved my original blog from Blogger to WordPress in 2019. Sometimes, for varying reasons, I repost old Blogger content to this newer blog. In 2021, I reposted that old true crime post because it was slightly relevant to some new content I wrote last year. It was also a somewhat popular post. I didn’t update it, and specifically stated on the post that it was posted “as/is”– that is, just as it was originally written in 2014. Then I promptly forgot about it until early this morning, when I got that message from another alleged family member who was upset about it. That person claimed that my post had made it hard for the family to move on… even though that content had been available for several years on the original blog, and was up for over a year on this one, apparently completely unnoticed by the people in that family. They were also upset that I posted the name of the surviving child, which I only did because the name had already been printed in the papers. The first person who contacted me didn’t provide that detail; it came from reporters.
As I was thinking about what the person wrote, and realizing that I wouldn’t be going back to sleep, it occurred to me that the Facebook page for this blog has mostly caused me grief. Many of the people who followed it were friends of mine, so they were already seeing the links I put on my personal page. Many of the people who connected with me through the page were people who didn’t want to comment publicly, but were just angry about my opinions and wanted to leave me abusive comments in private. Since Facebook has been extremely annoying recently, due to its draconian bots and uncivilized comments, I decided that today, I would start the process of deleting the official Facebook page for this blog. I figure that anyone who really wants to read my blog can find it through Google, and if they want to contact me, they can leave public comments on the posts in question. That way, there’s no confusion, everyone will see what they wrote, and they are somewhat more likely to be civilized.
While I was at it, I also decided to delete a group I was running that hadn’t been active in a long time. Facebook doesn’t make it easy to delete groups. I had to manually remove all of the members, which was tedious and annoying. But that’s one less group I have to worry about, and one less avenue for strangers to harass me through social media, simply for voicing an opinion or sharing content they don’t like.
I’m not too worried about the legal threat. Based on Statcounter, I can see that the person didn’t read very carefully– I documented that their stay was about 2 minutes– and they probably don’t realize that I don’t live in the United States, and that would complicate finding an appropriate venue for any lawsuit they might want to bring. The post in question, which was public for 16 months, has a total of 140 hits. That’s a big whopping nine hits per month; actually it’s less than that, since they hit the post this month and has racked up more than 14 hits in August 2022. Even if I were to factor in the hits on the two posts I wrote for the original blog and consolidated for the repost, there were 998 hits total for both posts– for the less than five years the posts were available on the older blog. Somehow, I doubt my post caused any significant harm to the person who contacted me about it. Counting both blogs and all forms of those posts, my thoughts on that particular true crime story got maybe 1200 hits total. That’s over a course of about 8 years. So… maybe 150 hits per year… again roughly 14 hits per month. Explosive stuff.
Yes, a lawyer could contact me about that post, but it would be a complicated endeavor that would probably cost the potential plaintiff a lot of money and aggravation to initiate. And I also don’t think they would get more than big headaches… because although they were under the mistaken impression that I do this for big bucks, the truth is, I’ve only made about $100 on this blog. That’s not even enough to pay for the WordPress subscription, and it took me about a year to do that. I am also well-insured, with legal and liability insurance in Germany, and liability/umbrella insurance in the United States. I don’t think a lawsuit would be very satisfying for them, at least not monetarily. What’s very sad to me is that the person could have made a respectful request, and I would have been happy to help them. There was no need to be threatening and hateful. I consider that harassment.
Anyway… I like to write about true crime, and people are very interested in those posts, but I’m not here to cause anyone psychological pain, and I’m not interested in lawsuits. While most true crime posts are not problematic, and there is no law against writing about news articles, that one caused angst to someone. That’s reason enough to remove the content, especially since it was so old. So I removed the post, and am shutting down the Facebook page. I think it will make my life simpler. I also think it will make things tougher for the haters.