A prominent Northern Irish figure I know has decided against going public to talk about an ongoing serious illness or to thank the NHS for their care because the family fear what the response would be on social media.
It's a sad state of affairs but the relatives are convinced, as I am, that it would only take a few minutes for some trolls to weasel their way out of their dark little lairs to ridicule the plight of the person whom I am not identifying in any shape or form.
"They'd be urging doctors to let me die," they said.
"And I don't want my family to go through the pain of having to see messages like that."
Okay, I hear you say people shouldn't access social media if they believe they're going to be abused on it.
But it's hard to avoid some of the platforms if you want to keep in touch with the world and with genuine friends and even if you do isolate yourself from the tweets and the Facebook messages, someone else will undoubtedly pick up the phone to let you know.
Another downside of social media emerged in all its most sinister and twisted fashion last week as a shower of wasters let fly with a lot of appalling claims about the hunt for Belfast schoolboy Noah Donohoe.
I won't repeat what the keyboard crazies said but not only was some of it stomach-churning rubbish but much of it also contained inflammatory conjecture that could have caused serious problems.
What also infuriated me was the way some irresponsible prats 'attributed' their 'theories' to someone who was the friend of a friend of a cousin three times removed whose uncle on his late mother's side was a former neighbour of someone in the know in the police or in the media. Yes, I accept the above example is imaginary, ridiculous.
But it's close to the sort of garbage that I was reading from ghouls and gossip-mongers who really should have known better during the six-day search for the St Malachy's College pupil than to distribute unsubstantiated bilge.
Noah's disappearance after his bicycle ride into north Belfast had the whole province talking and the overwhelming majority of us only wanted to see him returned safe and well to his mother Fiona.
Sadly, too many gullible people believed what they read online and I grew weary of them repeating as gospel the tripe they'd seen online.
It was no wonder that the PSNI constantly urged people to stop spreading unhelpful rumours.
What drives creeps like that on is baffling but they do seem to revel in distributing their poison.
And then of course there was the idiot who interrupted a live PSNI news conference on the street in Belfast to give a name and announce that 'he was safe' which he clearly thought was hilarious but no-one else did.
Leaving him aside though, I don't know what could be done to stop the vile internet users who hide behind anonymity to post whatever enters their empty heads about anything under the sun but surely in this day of technological wizardry something must be achievable.
A friend who knows more about computers than I do has suggested it shouldn't be beyond the bounds of possibility to introduce a licensing system for people who want to use social media.
I'll believe it if I see it… on anything but social media, of course.