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Syphilis And Its Facebook Friends

Syphilis does not mess around. Syphilis is the kind of disease that can turn a perfectly healthy quivering rod of human penis into an undifferentiated squabble of pickled tripe. For hundreds of years, it's been taking those who allowed their amoral genitals to intersect with other bad genitals, and making their nasal cavities subside, their teeth fall out, and their brains gelatinise. Now it's on Facebook.

Annoncering

The degeneration of a human being through the final stages of syphilis is never a pleasant thing. It is far less pleasant when it is relayed in a computerised feed of party pics of lagered-up Friday nights at All Bar One for the entertainment of strangers you used to go to school with. Facebook is a poor medium through which to contract syphilis.

In the olden days, a carrier from a foreign land would introduce a disease to an exciting new geography – a Typhoid Mary figure. Now, in these end-times of crowdsourcing, it seems like Facebook has brought syphilis to Teesside. Yes, Teesside. That place in the North-East that seems to have too many of the letters in its name and incorporates Middlesborough, and other places you'd like to visit even less than Middlesborough.

No, it's not just a cheap headline either. Really. It's not. No less a figure than Peter Kelly, director of public health in the region, has spoken to the Telegraph about stats which show, that of the 30 recorded cases of syphilis last year, a lot of them were contracted through meetings of casual bonery organised via Facebook.

Is this a good time for Kelly, a man of science, to learn a few lessons about the nature of causation-versus-correlation? Namely, that the sort of people who are going around putting their things into other people's things because they met them on a social network are a type in themselves, who existed before FB and who will probably exist after it too, (if they aren't syphilised off the planet). Facebook is making it easier, yes. But if you are going to have sex with people simply because they are signed up to a group called "If 100, 000 People Sign Up To This Group My Wife Will Let Me Name Our Son Batman", the predominant cause of your illness is simply that you’re a dickhead.

Meanwhile, as Teessiders lie dying, Mark Zuckerberg is now worth $4 billion – that's $80 for every man and woman in Britain. It's a quantity of cash that means he could pay everyone their portion as a bribe to perform a human snake of mutual fellatio stretching from John O'Groats to Land's End, which in a far-flung way, he has. Why are you giving us syphilis, Mark? Haven't we suffered enough?

GAVIN HAYNES