Within the span of two weeks I received a Facebook friend request from a dead person and solicitations for advice and money from both major political parties.
I didn’t respond to any of them, although I was tempted on the political surveys.
The Facebook friend request was from a lady who died a year ago — a person who was a friend on Facebook as well as in person long before there was a Facebook.
I don’t post much on Facebook and am not a big fan of social media, unless you count e-mail and texting which I use almost daily.
But I am on Facebook and check it regularly. It does contain useful information, along with some funny jokes, irritating commentary, fake news and far more information than I need to know about some of my relatives, friends and acquaintances.
I have learned how to silence some of them and “still be friends.” I hope they don’t know I no longer read their posts.
As for the request to befriend a dead person, I find on Google that it isn’t unusual. That information, I should add, was not originated by Google but by other publications, printed and digital, which Google passed along.
When requests from a dead friend turn up, it could mean the deceased person’s account was hacked or cloned. Criminals try to add people on the site and use that friendship to run scams.
Another part of Facebook that should be viewed with skepticism is those “like” comments on a product or a commentary.
For a couple of years after another “friend” of mine died, she kept liking stuff on Facebook.
Another Facebook friend, this one still living, was liking Ford automobiles for months. The last time I saw him, he was driving a Chevrolet.
Some of these “likes” are legitimate, but others can be and are manipulated.
If you ever see me liking something on Facebook, consider it either a sham or I was paid for the endorsement.
Apologies to friends who ask me to like a product or a business on Facebook. I depended on newspaper advertising to help pay my salary for too many years to help market stuff on Facebook with no compensation to me.
On politics, I consider myself an independent. I have voted in both party primaries in separate elections and candidates in both parties in general elections.
In the 2016 presidential election, I threw away my vote on some no-name candidate — I don’t even remember who — and may do it again, given the prospects for 2020.
I am not, however, a “registered independent,” just like some of my friends aren’t “registered” Republicans or Democrats as they claim to be.
Maybe some of them are on some kind of voter list of the party that claims their allegiance. But when it comes to actually registering to vote in Mississippi you don’t designate a party.
Someone — or more likely some computer-driven data base — has identified me as an ardent supporter of both the National Democratic Party and the National Republican Party, including one who wants me to help re-elect President Donald Trump which isn’t high on my priority list.
I have received in the mail — the old-fashioned kind from the post office — lengthy surveys from both parties asking for my input on just about everything in the news these days.
Included in each survey is an invitation to send money which, I suspect, is more the purpose of the surveys than whatever views I or the others who received them have on the issues.
I never considered sending money, but I was tempted to fill out the surveys, the thought occurring that I could make up some stuff that the respective parties didn’t want to hear.
But I resisted that temptation and trashed the surveys. After all, those people or those computers have my name and address, and I don’t need any more solicitations for money.
All this technology is great, but a downside is there’s not much privacy anymore.
Do a little research on the internet on products from shoes to automobiles and ads will soon start popping up on your search engine for the items you were researching.
Crooks can use your name for scams, too, even after you are dead.
• Charles M. Dunagin is the retired editor and publisher of the Enterprise-Journal in McComb. He lives in Oxford.