Editorial

Could Online acccountability have prevented murder?

Image from FacebookSydney teen, Nona Belomesoff, 18, was found slain south of Sydney after a stranger appealed to her personal sense of morality, reports ABC Australia.

Faking his credentials, and fabricating a Facebook profile; Christopher James Dannevig, 20, allegedly posed as a member of an animal welfare organization with the intent to lure Belomesoff with the offer of a job, including searching for injured wildlife.

Described as an avid animal lover by family, and convinced she would lose her opportunity at her dream; Belomesoff is believed to have accompanied the suspect on a camping trip. Her body was found two days later after family contacted police when she did not return.

The Facebook community has expressed their sorrow for the slain teen with numerous pages and groups in memorial of the victim.

Police are investigating and remind users that an online profile may not be representative of the true nature of an individual and that online caution is warranted.

User or Network?

Are social networks such as Facebook doing enough to protect their users against fraud and violent crime or should the onus be on the user? Historically, Facebook's default privacy settings allow media to be shared with anyone using the service, with the settings to be adjusted by the individual user. Case and point, the included article image was freely accessible on Facebook.

Image Credit: Facebook

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44 Comments

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I stopped inside walmart one day and looked at all the missing kids. It wasn't exactly funny, but some of the girls looked 16 and the pictures they had on the poster were all something you'd see on myspace. The term "You've got angles" came to mind.


Anyone ever try to control a 18 year old girl before?
It's like trying to catch a greased up deaf guy but less fun.

Tragic accident,
perhaps schools could add a once a week subject on online safety?

Felix_ said,

perhaps schools could add a once a week subject on online safety?

Why the schools? Sounds like a waste of taxpayer dollars to teach common sense. That's the job of the parents, who in this case seem to have failed.

I don't think the parents need any further penalty though. Failing at preparing your children for the realities of the world is it's own punishment.

Neb Okla said,

Why the schools? Sounds like a waste of taxpayer dollars to teach common sense. That's the job of the parents, who in this case seem to have failed.

I don't think the parents need any further penalty though. Failing at preparing your children for the realities of the world is it's own punishment.

i vaguely reemmber being taught by my school not to talk to strangers on the street. a more updated version of those lessions would be a very good idea.

unfortunately educators are either severely out of date on applying safe internet usage or try to use technology to spy on and control their students above and beyond their mandate.

"should the onus be on the user?"

Yuss! x1000
Drink responsibly,
Smoke at your own risk,
Socialise with caution.

Felix_ said,
"should the onus be on the user?"

Yuss! x1000
Drink responsibly,
Smoke at your own risk,
Socialise with caution.

Agreed, this is why I'm a Libertarian. I take responsibility for myself and helping others instead of constantly whining that the government did't do enough while I wan't paying attention.

The intellectualy lazy response to the government sucking at it's job is *never* to take personal responsibility for making sure the government does a better job - it always seems to involve making the government bigger - because the government is just too small to accomplish anything.

At least where I live the Government is supposed to work for me - so be a more responsible boss.

Neb Okla said,

Agreed, this is why I'm a Libertarian. I take responsibility for myself and helping others instead of constantly whining that the government did't do enough while I wan't paying attention.

The intellectualy lazy response to the government sucking at it's job is *never* to take personal responsibility for making sure the government does a better job - it always seems to involve making the government bigger - because the government is just too small to accomplish anything.

At least where I live the Government is supposed to work for me - so be a more responsible boss.


it has little to do with one's politics. i'm a responsible socialist and i don't expect the government to take responsibility for my actions or tell me what to do.
in fact i'm tired of my conservative led government which came into power on promises of more responsible smaller govt trying to impose their religious values on me and my country men.

something like this could be done without things like fb. you could use personal ads in a newspaper, flyers tacked to posts, or any number of other strategies people up to no good use to defraud, rob and murder people all the time.
at least thi smethod left a trail that police used to identify her attacker.
like anything iirl or online, it's always smart to verify someone's credentials before meeting up with them and going to a secluded area.
i learned this in kindergarten and in later grades long before there was an internet.
had this person used some common sense when dealing with strangers or things that are too good to be true, she might still be alive.
in any case my condolences go out to her family.

Not Facebook's fault. People lie everywhere to get what they want. So what if someone stole another person's test in a classroom and swapped names? You going to sue the paper company?

Neb Okla said,
Why didn't she simply shoot the man when he attacked her?

Idk...not many people carry a gun around with them, and it might not be allowed for a 18-year-old.

Neb Okla said,
Why didn't she simply shoot the man when he attacked her?

It's not the US where every kid age 6 has a gun. It's Australia.

ilev said,

It's not the US where every kid age 6 has a gun. It's Australia.

Hyperbole fail. Sounds like someone is bitter about being unable to assert their right to self defense.

LaserWraith said,

Idk...not many people carry a gun around with them, and it might not be allowed for a 18-year-old.

Interestingly, here in Ohio it's legal for 18 year olds to carry long-guns around for self defense but I haven't seen anyone doing that. Probably because 18 year olds tend to be ignorant of the law.

Edrick Smith said,
I love how Microsoft is encouraging people to go out and meet their "social" of strangers they know online.

Microsoft?

It owns Facebook?

I'm afraid I'm not getting why MS is so much worse than any other social network. ????

LaserWraith said,

Microsoft?

It owns Facebook?

I'm afraid I'm not getting why MS is so much worse than any other social network. ????

You've seen the ads for their new phones haven't you? Where it's all on about how so and so couldn't stand not meeting their "online social" anymore and is out traveling the country meeting people from Online.

How is this the websites problem? They can not stop someones actions, heck someone could be a real person and still do something bad

neufuse said,
How is this the websites problem? They can not stop someones actions, heck someone could be a real person and still do something bad

Some sites have some strict policies to prevent further troubles, for example they ban to publish any personal information (such photography).

Magallanes said,

Some sites have some strict policies to prevent further troubles, for example they ban to publish any personal information (such photography).

What's the use of a "social" networking site if you are banned to "socialize"?

Or maybe you weren't clear, and meant make the info public. I have a feeling there would be another outrage at Facebook if that happened.

unfortunatly, common sense did not prevail here.
This could have been organised over txt, email or handwritten letters.

even if the man had used a genuine facebook page, theres nothing to stop this happening.

Some people never learn. You can't help every person in this world, there'll always be some idiot who believes everything they see and hear.

This is a sad story, but lets get things into perspective here.......

Would you just believe a crack pot story off someone you have never met before and go camping with them if you met them in real life? No!

So why is this a social networking, or internet issue - its quite simply a case of people need to treat anything online as they would in real life, with a bit of suspicion and caution, and if you wouldn't do that in real life then then its your responsibility - or should we strive for a world where common sense and education isn't needed?

+1 - Completely agree that social networks are not the issue here.

There are, and always have been, predators in the world seeking ways to exploit others for whatever purposes. This is truly a sad event, but technology is not the cause but rather just another instrument used by those that choose to do others harm.

Glen said,
There are, and always have been, predators in the world seeking ways to exploit others for whatever purposes. This is truly a sad event, but technology is not the cause but rather just another instrument used by those that choose to do others harm.

In my family we use technology to protect against predators in the event that we encounter them, which luckily hasn't happened often. I've been told that the lifetime odds of a person becoming the victim of a violent crime in the US is 1 in 4. One of them was me - twice.

Antaris said,
I'm all up for verified accounts, tied to national IDs...

LOL I hope that was sarcasm.

Edited by Jebadiah, May 18 2010, 10:38am :

Antaris said,
I'm all up for verified accounts, tied to national IDs...

Americans doesn't have a national ID, so it is not a option, at least for americans.

Edited by Brony, May 18 2010, 2:31pm :

Antaris said,
I'm all up for verified accounts, tied to national IDs...

Thank goodness nobody has ever made a fake ID. It'd be especially useless if fake ID's were sold on the Internet.

what does online accountability has to do with this? she got social engineered into a victim, she would have been social engineered into a victim even if facebook didn't exist. people need to be educated about good practices.

primexx said,
what does online accountability has to do with this? she got social engineered into a victim, she would have been social engineered into a victim even if facebook didn't exist. people need to be educated about good practices.

I only sort of agree. Online communities greatly increase the opportunities for predators to find victims, and make it fairly easy to construct a plausible front.

We may be needing to address this in school. Early.

primexx said,
what does online accountability has to do with this? she got social engineered into a victim, she would have been social engineered into a victim even if facebook didn't exist. people need to be educated about good practices.

What I was thinking ... if not Facebook, then through another medium.

I hope other people on Facebook hear of this news and learn for all times sake.

Edited by Jebadiah, May 18 2010, 10:46am :

Thunderbuck said,

Online communities greatly increase the opportunities for predators to find victims, and make it fairly easy to construct a plausible front.

If only some sort of technology existed that would allow victims to relatively easily and inexpensively defend themselves against predators.

Neb Okla said,

If only some sort of technology existed that would allow victims to relatively easily and inexpensively defend themselves against predators.

If only some technology existed that would allow me to not need (un)common sense anymore, and while I'm at it, also let me "mow" the yard with a thought. Cool.

I suppose you could "relatively easily and inexpensively defend" yourself with a gun. Not that everything would end up okay.

Want me to show you where I got an electric fly-swatter? The police might still get you for hurting someone, though.

LaserWraith said,

I suppose you could "relatively easily and inexpensively defend" yourself with a gun. Not that everything would end up okay.

Luckily I live in a place where this is legal. Things usually end up okay because predators tend to pick targets they believe to be unarmed. When it becomes apparent that they underestimated their prey they typically flee, are apprehended, or are dispatched.

At least that's how local incidents turn out in media reports and from personal accounts from local law enforcement.