Monday, March 29, 2010

Facebook causes syphillis

No, really, it does. According to the Telegraph, "Facebook 'Linked to Syphillis.'"

Reading the article, it turns out that "linked to" is a little stronger than what the Professor Peter Kelly, the researcher who saw a connection said. He saw that a couple of areas of Britain that have increased incidence of syphillis also have high Facebook usage. Professor Kelly observed that "Social networking sites are making it easier for people to meet up for casual sex."  Apparently the data he used included where people were hooking up, and a lot of them were through Facebook. Not a smoking gun, more like circumstantial evidence.

Facebook is, of course coming out swinging about the assertion. A spokesman said, among other things, that "Facebook is no more responsible for STD transmission than newspapers responsible for bad vision." Not a perfect analogy, but close enough, I suppose.

I don't know that Facebook is actually making it any easier for people to have casual sex. I do suspect that attitudes and fears about sex have probably changed somewhat in the last 20 years, and that might have something to do with it.

Of course, "Some people on Facebook meet each other for unprotected sex and get STD's" just isn't as snappy a headline.