Sharing your personal thoughts on Facebook may lead to a death sentence. This is not a joke. According to CNN, Pakistan (a country that has received tens of billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer provided aid over the years) has handed down a death sentence to millennial Taimoor Raza for “using derogatory remarks … in respect of the Holy Prophet” on Facebook.
In May, Pakistan’s government sent millions of text messages to its citizens warning them not to participate in social media blasphemy. It appears that Pakistan has decided to demonstrate to the world that anyone (whom it has jurisdiction over) who makes online statements that it doesn’t agree with and whose identity can be verified may be executed for voicing their opinions.
Did Facebook help Pakistan officials identify Mr. Raza? Did Mr. Raza feel obligated to set up a Facebook account in his real name because Facebook’s terms of service require you to do so, so it can not only monetize all of your personal information but also help governments track you down when you say something they don’t like?
The bottom line is that if you want to express a personal opinion that may anger your government (or governments of countries you plan to visit), your employer, a school, etc… you should do so under a pseudonym with an alternative account. Privacy is your best defense in the Digital Age.