Privacy is an elusive phantom of a concept on the internet. Our promised privacy is hacked into, sold out, and often just not carefully guarded enough. All of those are true of Facebook at one time or another.
The hotbed issue is when private and professional mix and employers get involved. Ashely Payne was fired for putting her personal life on Facebook. Due to a paperwork technicality, she can’t fight to get her job back. My mistake — she technically resigned. I think our collective intelligence has been technically insulted.
People ought to be entitled to their personal lives. However, where is the line between personal and professional drawn? There are also instances of people going on Facebook and complaining about their jobs or bosses and also being fired. I think the question is how are Facebook and other social networks defined? Are they purely personal or are they professional as well? Should they be a private place where people can post whatever they want? Is that possible on the internet?
In addition to personal information that could threaten current employment, employers check Facebook during the interview process to screen potential employees for work. I’m wondering if Facebook has become an inexpensive way for employers to circumvent consensual, informed, and approved background checks. Does the fact that people know employers check give employers implicit permission to research through Facebook?
Feel free to weigh in with your opinions.
I’m not sure there are any quick answers to any of this. I’ll be revisiting these issues in future posts.