Where Does Personal Responsibility Begin and End?
The recent news about Match.com being sued by a woman who was raped on a date with a man she met on Match.com has brought about the question – “Who is liable” here? First off, let me say that under NO circumstances is rape ever OK. It is a horribly violent attack that is never the fault of the attacked no matter how she is dressed, what she says, where she is, etc. With that said….
The Internet is used to “find” everything including a mate. The same way one checks out reviews about products before buying them, shouldn’t someone seeking a mate on an online dating site also do some checking before they go on that date? Match.com has a disclaimer on their site that clearly states:
“Match.com is not responsible for the conduct, whether online or offline, of any user of the Website or Member of the Service.”
According to Annenberg TV News, the plaintiff is not asking for monetary damages, but wants all of Match.com’s members to be run through a national sex offender database before allowing them to join the site. And what if this is the person’s first offense? How will this help? People can snap at any time and/or can have deviant tendencies that might be laying dormant. Where is the personal responsibility, good judgment, and common sense?
In a similar vein, how many times do you hear adults blaming their parents for their misfortunes, character flaws, and inadequacies? At what age do “adults” start taking responsibility for their own lives? 18? 25? 45?
The Internet has made everything easy and immediate. However, as adults, it is our responsibility to use it wisely. This goes for dating sites, social media sites, forums, and any place online one either visits or posts.
How is this relevant for small business marketing? It serves as a reminder that the Internet provides a huge arena for brand exposure, but each business owner needs to be aware of the effects and consequences of everything they do and don’t do on the Web. The responsibility is ours to make sure we are true to our brand promise, transparent, genuine, professional, and courteous – even if someone else is not. Have you ever seen professionals behave unprofessionally online and use the excuse that the “other” person started it or was rude first? Personally, I don’t subscribe to this line of reasoning. Blaming others as a reason for bad or unprofessional behavior is not, in my opinion, a good response. We have no control over what others say or how they behave, but as adults, we do have control over what we say and do, on the decisions and judgments we make, and on the actions we take or don’t take.
What are you thoughts on this topic? I started an interesting conversation on Facebook about this case. The consensus of opinion is that the case is full of holes, and no matter how horrific the crime, it is not the fault of Match.com and they are not liable for this act of violence. What do you think?