A Facebook search for “RIP Michael Schumacher” results in at least 177 Facebook pages ready to pay tribute to the Formula 1 champion.
Schumacher remains in critical condition following a skiing accident in the French Alps. He was skiing with his 14-year-old son when the incident occurred.
Yesterday Schumacher arrived at the Grenoble hospital in a coma and underwent surgery for brain trauma. The Meribel resort said Schumacher sustained a “relatively serious” head injury but was conscious when rescuers arrived at the scene.
“He was shocked, a little rattled but conscious,” said Meribel’s director of tourism, Christophe Gernigon-Lecomte.
Tests are still ongoing in Grenoble. Trama surgeon Gerard Saillant travelled from Paris to Grenoble to operate on Schumacher, apparently the same surgeon who operated on him after a car crash that broke Schumacher’s leg at the Silverstone race course in 1999.
There had been no other news of Schumacher’s condition until one hour ago when his doctors made an updated announcement (11:00 a.m. CET), 24 hours after the accident. The doctors say Schumacher would have died had he not been wearing a helmet but refuse to speculate on his prognosis.
One doctor said, “A scan showed he had several bruises inside his skull. So we operated in order to reduce the internal pressure on the brain. But we saw unfortunately that there were other hemorrhages in his brain.”
Saillant added, “I’m worried, so is his wife and children. We are all worried by his condition. The doctors are working very hard.”
Meanwhile, community, group and other Facebook pages are circulating with misinformation and using the title, “RIP Michael Schumacher.” It’s a contemptuous strategic maneuver by those who want to take advantage of a tragedy should Schumacher’s condition take a turn for the worse–scammers looking to make money off of likes.
After the first wave of soliciting likes based on emotion, a second wave of what can be called the spam-spam return begins as the pages begin to fill up with spam, both unique and similar to that found on other Facebook pages.
Facebook filters are not capable of quickly stopping the parasite on parasite outbreak. The community will slowly flag the pages; in the meantime Facebook should be swift in dealing with the situation—a return to dignity.
The pages play on people’s emotions, their creators hope that each like and share will eventually result in virality. The most popular page—created just 14 hours after the accident–has already racked up more than 29,000 likes.
One of Formula One’s top figures, Shumacher is a seven-time champion, winning two titles with Benetton and five straight titles with Ferrari. He retired in 2006 then came back 2010 to drive for Mercedes; he retired again after finishing the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2012.
Schumacher was also injured seriously following a motorcycling accident in 2009 in Spain when he suffered neck and spine injuries.