Social Network Status Updates Come Back To Bite You

from the is-nothing-private? dept

Lots of people wrestle with the question of what in their lives is public or private, particularly as they put more of them online. But it may pay to err on the side of caution, as plenty of instances continue to pop up to remind us that really, very little, if anything is private once it's online. Take the case of a Philadelphia Eagles stadium worker, apparently fired after he called the team "retarded" in a status update, for letting a player sign with another team. Or the New York City cop, whose update that he was watching the movie Training Day -- which features Denzel Washington as a cop who doesn't play by the rules -- in order "to brush up on proper police procedure" helped a suspect beat a gun-possession charge. Part of the issue is that as people get more and more friends online, even stuff they think is private essentially becomes public. That will undoubtedly have an effect on people's online behavior, and could hamper the growth of social networking and online life-sharing.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2009 @ 2:15pm

    Thus the reason my twitter and facebook statuses are vague and non-interesting to the rest of the world

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Relonar, Mar 13th, 2009 @ 2:27pm

    Re:

    high five

    but yeah, it's the same here, just don't update about sensitive material, and remember that sarcasm is a non-printable character.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2009 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re:

    Facebook update:
    John is trying to memorize the number 403-85-3445.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Doc Rings, Mar 13th, 2009 @ 2:45pm

    It's pretty easy: mean what you say and say what you mean. If you can't live honestly, then maybe you should refrain. People need to get away from leading double lives...

    If you have ideas that make you a bad cop, then be honest and don't be a cop.

    If you think something is retarded and you want to talk about it online, then at least have the cajones to take the punishment...

    If you mean something sarcastic, that's what emoticons are for! ;)

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Joel Coehoorn, Mar 13th, 2009 @ 2:48pm

    Bad Subpeona

    In the case of the cop's update, IIRC it was made public as the result of a subpoena that should not have been granted, not because the info was ever really 'public'.

     

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  6.  
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    Medbob, Mar 13th, 2009 @ 3:40pm

    It's just another data point

    The real point here is that this is another place where truth can leak out. If you've got a real bad attitude in your "professional" life, (and I use that term loosely here) it may show. Certainly if you cannot identify the problem as it moves from your mind to the keyboard, then it's systemic, and you need a reboot or an enema!
    It takes a bit of common sense, something that is becoming increasingly less common.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Interesting, Mar 13th, 2009 @ 3:55pm

    Trial in Arkansas

    A company wants to appeal a verdict because one of the jurors was twittering.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Buzz, Mar 13th, 2009 @ 4:10pm

    Wait

    Why are these people adding important officials to their friend lists? I don't add my employers and whatnot. That's just silly. I keep my personal life... PERSONAL...

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2009 @ 4:13pm

    Well, no shit. Jeez people are stupid.

     

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  10.  
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    chris (profile), Mar 13th, 2009 @ 4:56pm

    facebook should be illegal

    i set my status to "boffing my secretary, susan" and my wife left me and is suing me for alimony and custody of the kids, susan's husband left her and is suing her for divorce, susan left me and is suing me for defamation, and is also suing the company for sexual harrassment, and the company has fired me for no good damn reason.

    facebook is a freakin menace and should be burned to the ground.

     

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  11.  
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    Rekrul, Mar 13th, 2009 @ 10:11pm

    I don't even have a "social networking" page. I never saw the need to put aspects of my life up on a public page and then add "friends". The only reason I even created a YouTube account was so that I could bypass the age restriction on some videos. I keep getting offers to be put on friends lists from other users and I just ignore them. My profile is empty.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Buzz, Mar 13th, 2009 @ 10:31pm

    What?

    @Rekrul - It's not public. Your information is protected and only viewable by those you permit. From there, it's only a matter of exercising discipline and only adding people you know in real life instead of 5000 "friends" on the Internet.

     

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  13.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh, Mar 14th, 2009 @ 2:07pm

    Social networks

    Right on, Michael, though I will add that having a cop say he watches something like that to learn "proper police procedure" means catching a cop that needs to be fired before he does some real damage.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    brokeastunes, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 6:56am

    "Privacy"

    Here in Canada a judge recently ruled, in an insurance case, that a person's Facebook info/status could be used as evidence against them. As you can imagine, it was someone who was claiming diminished enjoyment of life, while their updates said the opposite...not too bright.

     

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  15.  
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    nasch, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 9:44am

    Re:

    So was your whole post sarcastic, then? No sarcasm tags or emoticons here, because I'm hoping it was.

     

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  16.  
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    Michael Talpas (profile), Mar 18th, 2009 @ 11:13am

    Is that necessarily bad?

    "That will undoubtedly have an effect on people's online behavior, and could hamper the growth of social networking and online life-sharing."

    I am not sure this is necessarily bad. It isn't good, but it isn't bad, either. It is simply a fact of sharing your life online. If people realize that sharing their entire life online is going to take away their privacy, and they value their privacy, they are going to stop sharing their entire life online. It is a choice that people just haven't been thinking about till now. Hopefully, this will lead to more thoughtful business models for social sites in the future.

    I don't know what those might be (I'm not in the business) but I am sure more intelligent people then I will figure it out.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Michael Talpas (profile), Mar 18th, 2009 @ 11:16am

    Re: Trial in Arkansas

    Well, this is a clear violation of the law. Jurors are not allowed to discuss trial with anyone but the judge, the prosecutors, or other jurors. Sending out twitter messages during the trial is illegal and should call for an appeal and possibly a mistrial.

    I said possibly.

     

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  18.  
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    Michael Talpas (profile), Mar 18th, 2009 @ 11:20am

    Re: facebook should be illegal

    Well, if you weren't boffing susan, then she can sue you for defamation. However, if you were boffing her, I don't see how the suit could stick, as you were simply telling the truth, and you didn't mention anything concerning her character.

    As to her suing the company, we don't know the details. Were you the only businessman boffing her? Was she threatened by you or others if she didn't boff you? Etc.

    And yes, I know you were being sarcastic. I just thought it would be amusing to respond as though you were being truthful.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Michael Talpas (profile), Mar 18th, 2009 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Trial in Arkansas

    Ack! I forgot the defender. Sorry, what I really meant, was the lawyers in the case, both for the defense and prosecution. Though, really, they can't discuss it with them, they can only listen as the lawyers try to explain what happened and why they should think one thing or the other.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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