An official with Britain’s National Health Service said “Facebook and similar sites were to blame for a shocking rise in cases of potentially-lethal syphilis,” The Sun reports from London.
“Social networking sites are making it easier for people to meet up for casual sex. There is a rise in syphilis because people are having more sexual partners than 20 years ago and often do not use condoms.”
To beef up its apocalyptic package, The Sun includes a sidebar by “Sun Doctor” Carol Cooper who explains that syphilis is no laughing matter — “It can kill.”
And there are several fearsome links, including one headlined, “My Facebook ‘friend’ raped me.” That story begins:
“Befriending him proved a devastating mistake — days later Martin Dews brutally RAPED Sarah.”
The Sun concludes it coverage by noting that “last night a spokesperson for Facebook said users should take ‘precautions’ and be careful with meeting anyone they have encountered online.”
From his Guardian blog, here’s Roy Greenslade’s take:
Even if true — note that the claim is based on just 30 cases — do we really believe that people’s sexual habits are the fault of the media they use?
If so, imagine a story based on a rather similar unscientific claim that reads something like this…
The Sun ‘boosts sex attacks’: Cases of sexual assault are soaring due to men looking at Page 3 girls every day, a police chief from somewhere up north warned yesterday.
Figures released last month showed that men found guilty of sex crimes were 25% more likely to have regularly turned to The Sun’s page 3.
And would you believe it?
Art in this post is from The Sun’s Website.