Commentary

Facebook Post Leads to Torture, Imprisonment

 I've always suspected that social networks -- which allow users to share personal information with friends, strangers, and everyone in between, sometimes unwittingly -- might play a role in episodes of family violence and abuse. But these episodes of violence must still be catalyzed, of course, by old-fashioned human craziness.

Anthony Lozano, 36, of Hanford, California, was arrested over the weekend by Kings County sheriff's deputies on charges of kidnapping, torturing and falsely imprisoning his 23-year-old girlfriend after finding a message from another man on her Facebook page. Suspecting his girlfriend was having an affair, Lozano grabbed her by her hair, choked her with a rope and towel, threatened to kill her, then tied her up for four days, beating her repeatedly -- all with their three-year-old child and her 13-year-old from a previous relationship still in the house -- before she managed to escape and alert the police.

Facebook clearly played a role in these frightening events, but it was a minor one. This is an extreme illustration of a point I've made in the past: We've heard a lot of horror stories involving social networks and their ilk, and we'll probably hear more in the future, but it would be a mistake to think that social networks are the cause. This would be confusing the medium with the uses people make of it, and the fact is, some people have always behaved reprehensibly. Basically, if a tightly-wound, loosely-wired psycho like Lozano didn't have Facebook to set him off, something else would have -- a phone call, a matchbook, or just his own imagination.

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The only exception is in cases where the social network in some way facilitates the crime -- for example if location-based services alert burglars when someone is away from home, or tell stalkers where their victims are. In this category I would also include cases of fraud where scammers use fake profiles or impersonate trusted individuals in order to deceive their victims (although you don't necessarily need a social network to impersonate someone).

9 comments about "Facebook Post Leads to Torture, Imprisonment".
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  1. Mark Burrell from Tongal, September 1, 2010 at 4:12 p.m.

    Not sure fear mongering is going to trump prom pictures...ever:)

  2. Kimberly Grissom from The Zimmerman Agency, September 1, 2010 at 4:26 p.m.

    She had a kid when she was 10?

  3. Dave Warfel from Escape Creative, September 1, 2010 at 4:27 p.m.

    Nice article, and I agree with you on everything...

    except... if she is 23-years-old now, and has a 13-year-old from a previous relationship, wouldn't that mean she had a kid at age 10?

  4. Phil Lollar from LollarWorks LLC, September 1, 2010 at 4:29 p.m.

    Agreed, Kimberly. How could she have a 13-year-old when she's only 23?

  5. Jean Renard from TRM Inc., September 1, 2010 at 4:47 p.m.

    interesting how you assume the 13 year old would be from the woman not the man.
    He at 36 could easily have a 13 year old from another relationship.

  6. Erik Sass from none, September 1, 2010 at 5:25 p.m.

    Incredible as it may seem, all the news reports I have seen say the older child is also hers, citing a sheriff's cmdr. David Putnam. I can't guarantee the accuracy of that detail, unfortunately. All I can tell you is that a report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics titled "Births to 10–14 Year-Old Mothers, 1990–2002: Trends and Health Outcomes" confirms that there are several hundred children born to 10-12-year-olds every year in this country.

  7. J.a. Hope from Hope Health Inc., September 1, 2010 at 9:23 p.m.

    Kind of like gun control, to think the gun is the cause of violence is to mis-read the source of the violence. It's generally "good old fashioned human craziness."

  8. Howie Goldfarb from Blue Star Strategic Marketing, September 2, 2010 at 9:26 a.m.

    I am more concerned at LBS like Facebook Places enabling predators of all sorts.

  9. Sandy Miller from Success Communications, September 2, 2010 at 4:15 p.m.

    Recently in the Philadelphia area someone used Facebook to look for a hitman. He was going to be arrested by a woman he raped and wanted someone to take care of the problem for him. The genius didn't seem to realize that other people can read this and he was arrested.
    Every medium has its downside but its not going to go away anytime soon.

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