From the spread of fake news to violent live videos, Facebook has dealt with a lot of bad publicity lately. But the social media giant can still serve as a force for good — even if it’s just to settle small-time crime. That’s what happened this week when a Wisconsin bar owner Facebook-shamed a group of dine-and-dashers into paying their bill.
It started when five young adults skipped out on a $105.97 bill at the Brass Tap in Greenfield, Wisconsin, on Friday night. The bar posted on Facebook afterward, warning the group to return and pay their bill or face prosecution. The bar also posted pictures of the group and offered a $30 gift card to anyone who could help identify them. The post was picked up by local TV stations, and was shared over 1,000 times. By Sunday, the threat had worked, and the group returned to pay their tab.
Greenfield Police Officer David Vitek was thankful the restaurant took the case into its own hands, saying that the Facebook pressure was welcome and “obviously made a difference.” This is a funny story about how Facebook can be used against mischief-makers, but it’s still an important reminder of just how far Facebook can reach. Even when it’s being used to catch people dodging a bar bill, the site still has Big Brother-like power.