Facebook the New 911


Police have expressed concern after a pair of young girls trapped down a dangerous storm drain used their phones to update their Facebook profiles rather than call for assistance.

The girls, aged 10 and 12, became lost down a storm drain in the Australian city of Adelaide. Just why they were inspecting the city’s protection against flash floods is not made clear.

Realising their predicament, they quickly updated their Facebook profiles to let friends know they were currently stuck down a storm drain, using their fully functional mobile phones.

Eventually someone noticed their update (or at least took it seriously), and called 000 (911) in their stead, and the fire department was soon on its way to extricate them.

The local fire department politely skirts round the issue of their decision making prowess in selecting Facebook over the emergency services:

“It is a worry for us because it causes a delay on us being able to rescue the girls. If they were able to access Facebook from their mobile phones, they could have called 000, so the point being they could have called us directly and we could have got there quicker than relying on someone being online and replying to them and eventually having to call us via 000 anyway.”

The girls were rescued without injury.

A professor at the Queensland University of Technology also verbosely dances around the issue:

“For these kids, by the sounds of it, being on Facebook is just such a pervasive part of their lives that it seems the first line of response if they need to communicate a message to others.

I guess for these people the natural way to send a message out to their friends and others is via Facebook, unfortunately in this case the message was that they were stuck in a stormwater drain.”

Via the Telegraph.

Facebook seems to have narrowly averted its first fatalities, though sadly Twitter has not been so lucky…

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