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Keeping a corporate eye on your social life

Alex Christie

17 May 2010

Social media is now being used more and more in an effort to monitor individuals in terms of what they say, and their actions.

As the social media world continues to grow, so does the number of companies and agencies using social networking sites and platforms to monitor individuals. What many people don’t realize is that when using social media platforms openly and freely almost anyone can see what they are saying and doing.

As Facebook passes its sixth birthday, the number of employees being disciplined – and even fired – is only increasing. Over 400 million people use the social networking site, and it is extremely easy to find an employee or individual on it. If you have not constructed your privacy policies very carefully, the “wrong” people may easily be able view your actions.

Many companies are now choosing to use a social media platform to do a background check on potential employees, and if users do not set up their privacy policies to protect their data properly and increase their online security, then photo’s, comments and more could be exposed to your possible future employer. Not the greatest way to try to convince someone to hire you when you have indecent photo’s of you sprawled across your profile for anyone to see.

Not only are social media platforms being used by employers, but it these platforms are starting to play a far more important role in the work that authorities do. On Monday, a British man was convicted “of sending a menacing electronic communication” over Twitter – he  threatened to blow up an airport. A judge at Doncaster Magistrate’s Court ordered Paul Chambers to pay $1 500 in a fine and costs.

Chambers was arrested in January after he posted a message on the micro-blogging site saying he would blow Robin Hood Airport “sky high” if his flight was delayed. The 26-year-old Chambers said the message was a joke, and that no harm was intended. Chambers had pleaded not guilty to sending an offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing message over a public telecommunications network, but the authorities thought differently.

Incidents like these raise concerns over our data’s privacy on a social media platform. It also highlights the need for users to set up their accounts correctly, and stresses that users be extremely careful as to what they say on social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

After all, these platforms are only going to get bigger, their reach will continue to grow, and issues such as these are not going to disappear…

What is your experience with privacy on a social network?

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