Published in El Pais, November 13th, 2019.
Recently I read an article about a small town in my province begging people to stay away from the appropriately named “Heart Lake”, a small pond shaped exactly like a heart. The reason being that although the lake was public it was surrounded by private property and lots of people were trespassing to take that perfect picture. On top of being annoying to the locals hunting season is just around the corner so tourists might find themselves literally in the line of fire should they continue to trespass.
This is not the first time such a story has occurred as a sunflower farm initially offered tourists the chance to take a photo for $7 only. Later, were swarmed with tourists and as many as 7000 cars being parked on the street. The eager photo seekers often did not bother to pay and trampled many sunflowers before the farm was forced to end the promotion. This did not stop some from trying to take the photos and many still trespassed. When they were confronted often threatened with violence if other stood in their way.
To solve this Facebook is tinkering with the ideal of removing the amount of likes visible and the amount of times a video has been viewed from the public, a move which could deter such a desire to that perfect photo and while that may upset many, Facebook could come up with a compromise banning particular hashtags which might deter Instagramers from harassing local spots.
Facebook needs to come up with away to curve this but so do we. Social media is a great way to share great photos, but we need to be mindful of our surroundings as well. Be courteous to the locals and respectful of private property. If we do this, we will more likely be welcomed with open arms rather than hostility and the world will be better for it.