The Personal Information You Share on Facebook Can Be Used Against You

As of today, Facebook has 564,121,840, global members, including myself. Facebook makes it easy to network and share photos with our friends, family and the rest of the world. Virtually all of us are aware of Facebook’s dubious privacy issues, but few of us ever think twice before sharing such information and wondering who‘s looking at it. Yes, we try to protect ourselves against online predators and internet scams , but there are other ways our profile information can be used against us, and once you become aware of these seemingly unknown dangers it might make you think twice about what information you ultimately want to share on Facebook.

After researching books, newspaper, magazine articles and countless websites, I myself was surprised to discover that the pictures, wall posts, and overall information we share on the site can be used against us legally, it could cost us our job, or even keep us from being admitted to our dream school. For those of you who don’t know, yes, any photo you post on your Facebook profile or anyone else’s photo you are tagged in can be taken down and be admissible in a court of law as evidence against you. For example an insurer can deny your claim.

Take for instance 29 year old Canadian Mirae Mayenburg. In 2006 she was rear-ended by a car and the accident left her with unbearable back pain that affected her ability to work. After a year and a half, The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) ended her benefit payments because she had pictures on her Facebook profile that showed her hiking and riding her bicycle. Not only are insurance companies scanning your profile to deny claims, but attorneys are combing their client’s spouses profiles for evidence of child neglect, infidelity, or deception. One study suggests that Facebook comes up in one out of five new divorce petitions). While most of us will never see ourselves in court battling an insurance claim, most certainly all of us will find our selves interviewing for our dream jobs. In today’s world having a exceptional resume and acing an interview may not be enough.

According to PCWorld magazine, 20 percent of U. S employers admit to scoping out the Facebook pages of potential job candidates, while 9 percent say they’re going to start soon. The research also revealed that while 24 percent of employers had hired a member of staff ased on their social-networking profile, 33 percent had also decided not to make a job offer after reviewing the content on a profile. Use of drugs or drinking and the posting of photographs deemed ‘inappropriate’ or ‘provocative’ were identified as the most popular reasons why employers eliminated a candidate after viewing their social networking profile. Careerbuilder. com advises job hunters to either regularly edit their social-networking pages to ensure there is no negative content available or make them ‘private’ to avoid would-be employers snooping at their personal life.

Even before we go on that job interview, we will be applying to our dream schools. When considering applying for college students need to be aware that our Facebook profiles are out there on display. According to The Chicago Tribune, social networking sites like Facebook are being viewed by admission officers. Slashdot. com points us to a study suggesting that 10 percent of universities now examine social network profiles as part of their efforts to evaluate applicants. And, in some of those cases, the profiles hurt candidates to the point of having admissions directors change their minds.

Other universities claim that they don’t think it’s right to view such “personal” spaces, but you have to wonder if that view will change over time. every day we share status updates and photos of our personal lives with our friends and family through Facebook But they are not the only ones looking at our profile. Insurance companies, attorneys, potential employers and even school admissions officers are looking at our Facebook profiles and making conclusions about us based on the way we portray ourselves on line and from that they form an opinion about us even before they ever get to meet us in person.

Your Facebook profile can be deactivated, but the information never gets completely deleted, so keep in mind that anything you post today can be a deciding factor in your future.

Works cited MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. CBSnews. com. 20 June 2006. 22 November 2010. Miller Rubin, Bonnie. “Social-networking sites viewed by admissions officers”. Chicago tribune. 20 September 2008: SU1 Randazza, Janelle. Go Tweet Yourself: 365 Reasons Why Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and Other Social Networking Sites Suck. Boston: Adams Media, 2009

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