The Washington Post Op-Ed


Democracy Dies in Darkness


Local social media users alter the way a story is received.

By: LeAnne Harris

July 18, 2018

Sometimes a story can get twisted in the media of what that story is truly trying to pursue. For even a simple story of a worker posting a picture on their social media account ended up going into ridicule. Today everything you say or do online comes with some type of back lash. Creating a future plan to help these situations of ‘fake news’, is one of many possibilities we can use to solve this problem of wrong doing on social media accounts involving news stories.

On Monday, July 16th, a Lynchburg burger restaurant ‘Beer 88’ went on Facebook to post a harsh post when 17-year old Cohen Naulty paid his tab with nothing but a 20-dollar bill, dimes and nickels, and was polite enough to leave the server a 10-dollar tip as well. Beer 88 posted an actual photo of Nauly’s bill and change on the social media app captioning the photo as, “how not to pay at a restaurant.”

After the restaurant posted the photo, they received several harsh comments under the Facebook post on how Beer 88’s post lacked taste. After a heated hour of receiving comments of the restaurants lack of costumer service, Beer 88 later apologized about their ridiculous post. The power of Facebook did not stop there however.

On Tuesday, July 17th another restaurant in Forest, Lynchburg, Brauburgers, went to state that they would be holding a “Burgers for Change” event the 19th of July in response to what Beer 88 forwarded to Facebook. On this day, Brauburgers was offering customers 15% off their food bill if they paid for burgers in nothing but change. After the nights’ event was through, the restaurant donated 20% of the night’s gross sales to a selected charity.

After the backlash that the Beer 88 restaurant received, the owner Yao Liu did not back down from her employee’s post. Liu, the owner of the Beer 88 restaurant, stated that she was going to delete, but the post was not originally posted to end up making this terrible turn online. A loyal customer to Beer 88, Caroll Henning, stated how the restaurant’s employees were nothing but nice people, but with the power of the internet and everyone taking everything online to heart is one the significant consequences of this extensive story.

After becoming familiar with the situation and reading several other articles regarding to the significant event, I came to see how this story took a big turn after reaching the public’s online eye. After reading the several articles that I did, this whole situation should and could have been avoided by the Beer 88 employee not posting anything at all. The employee may have had not wanted this post to have as much backlash as it did. The power of the internet, especially Facebook can have a greater affect on someone’s life or the message they are trying to send out to the social world.

Take this recent story, think about how it twisted so quickly and how much both restaurants, Beer 88 and Brauburgers, received attention from the news and social medias. Imagine you were this server from Beer 88 and how you did not mean for this story to “blow up” the way it did. Now imagine you are 17-year-old Cohen Nauly, just trying to pay for your well-deserved meal. Both scenarios have their own background, but with the interaction that the internet, your story gets lost. Did the power of the internet loose the truth of this story? Yes. Did this HAVE to escalade the way that it did? No. Another solution that could had quickly solved this problem on both sides, online users and the owners, was to just take the post down. Yes, once something is online, it is there forever, but this could had solved some of the backlash a lot sooner than later.

Many stories on the internet for years have made headlines based from how the internet has escalated on the main story and they have become lost in translation. Social media has affected many lives of individuals from this very reason of stories being lost translation and its’ twisted ways. The internet has no passion for who, what, or how it may have a greater effect on people’s lives.

Just like this story of the boy with change and the server who was trying to show attention to what public service workers deal with every day, the story got warped. What the restaurant’s employee was wrong in many ways, but I do not believe the harsh post was intended to be the way that social media users portrayed the post to be the employee’s intention. After reading the story and trying to see it from the employee’s point of view, I get where they were coming from with explaining her troubles working in the food service industry.

The only way that social media can change regarding to the spreading the news, is to get the story behind both ends of that said story before judging another person of their story. Not everything you read online is the truth. How can we as this generation bring down these false stories and incorporate more truth you ask? By just doing simple research and doing your own investigation and the real-world will find the real-truth.


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