Suspended, Fired, Arrested for Facebook and Twitter Posts – Is Online Activity Ever "Private"? Part 1

This is the 1st installment of a series I’m doing called “Is Online Activity Ever ‘Private’?” After reading this, be sure to check out part three, to avoid having this happen to you!

You can read parts two and three here:
Part Two – Facebook Privacy Concerns: Safety for Parents and Children 
Part Three – How to Avoid Getting Fired or Arrested for Your Facebook Posts

You can look all around for stories about people getting in trouble for what they’ve posted on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and the like.

Some of the unfortunately large number of stories of people getting in trouble for their online activities (thought to be private) include…

Employment Termination: 

Gilbert Gottfried Fired Over Jokes on Twitter After Japan Tsunami
Registered Nurse Fired for Posting to Facebook While Dispensing Medicine to Patients
Teenage Girl Fired Over Twitter Post That Office Job Was “Boring”
Woman in Connecticut Fired for Ranting About Her Boss on Facebook
North Carolina Waitress Fired for Complaining on Facebook About Bad Tippers

Sportsnet Host Fired for Twitter Comments in Opposition of Gay Marriage
Man Fired After Photo Found on Facebook of Man at Costume Party Who’d Called in for “Family Emergency”

Student Trouble:
Douglas County (Georgia) Students Suspended/Expelled Over Facebook Remarks About Teacher
Florida Student Suspended Over Facebook Criticizm of Teacher
Oklahoma Sophomore Football Player Suspended for Distasteful Twitter Posts About Rival Team
New Hampshire Student Suspended for Wishing Death of Teacher (via Osama Bin Laden) on Facebook
Canadian Student Suspended and in Police Trouble for Satirical YouTube Videos (It’s not JUST Facebook & Twitter)
High School Students in Trouble Over Facebook List Describing Opinions of Female Students
Chicago Student Suspended for Criticizing Teacher via Facebook Even He Though Posted From Home

Political Trouble:
“Weinergate” – Republican Congressman Anthony Weiner’s Scandal Regarding Twitter Posts
NY Republican Congressman Christopher Lee Resigns Due to Craigslist Scandal

UK Woman Arrested for Facebook Messages Regarding Defendant While on Jury in Trial
High School Students Arrested for Cyberbullying Via Fake Facebook Profile
Teens Arrested Over Plot to Commit Murder Coordinated Via Facebook
Justin Bieber’s Manager Arrested for NOT Tweeting to Aid Police in Controlling Possible Riot
Hunter Arrested for Photos Showing Him With Deer Killed Outside Hunting Season
Middle School Students Arrested for Posting Bomb and Death Threats on Facebook

And this is just a small sampling of the problems that Facebook, Twitter, and other online media pose to the people that use them without exercising caution.

People have always complained, whined, and had opinions that were less than savory, but not been arrested for them before. Other people write things all the time that borderline on insanity.

What is the big deal?

People forget the kind of day and age that we live in, one where common sense frequently does not reign supreme. Some people are legitimately victimized, don’t get me wrong.

Oftentimes, the people that make these posts – whether it be a violent threat, a stupid remark, or a harsh criticism – do not think before they post about what they are actually saying. But sometimes there are also just people that will easily get offended.

There may be people watching your every online move.

With internet posts – whether it be a tweet on Twitter, a status update on Facebook, even a picture shared via Flickr or a video on YouTube – people get caught up in the perceived anonymity of the internet.

You are behind a screen, yes. No one (with the exception of stupid photos posted) can see your face, fine. But remember the premise of “social networking” – it’s designed to let your world know what you are up to.

Sometimes though, others make their way in too.


Posted on June 25, 2011, in Life, Social Networking, Tech, Work and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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