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Social Media 101: Facebook Can Cost You a Paycheck

Social Media 101: Facebook Can Cost You a Paycheck

Or What Happens in a Chippendales Bar, Stays There

I tell my kids, my friends, my clients, as well as attendees at my social media presentations for legal professionals, that Facebook is wonderful, but also dangerous if used without some basic common sense. But many of them don’t believe me. So I’m going to start giving them a copy of this Yahoo! News article, “Canadian woman loses benefits over Facebook photo.”

To make a long story short – and pointed, very pointed – Canadian Nathalie Blanchard’s disability insurance carrier obtained Facebook photos of her engaging in some lively recreational activities while she was on an extended medical leave from IBM for depression, including frolicking on a beach and “having a good time at a Chippendales bar show,” and cut off her monthly sick-leave benefits, deeming her available for work.

Blanchard is appealing the decision and says her doctor advised her to try and have some fun.

The article doesn’t say how Blanchard’s insurance company obtained the Facebook photos – if her insurance agent was one of her Facebook friends, if she was part of an open network allowing the agent or another representative of the company to view her profile, or if the company obtained the photos via other means.

Helloooo, Facebook Isn’t as Private as You Think

This story reminds me of an individual who posed this question to me after one of my social media presentations: “I want to use Facebook for professional networking, but what do you think of me creating a separate and secret personal account for the more off-color exchanges I have with a rather bawdy group of friends that I don’t want other professionals to see?”

My response?: “It’s not a good idea to post anything on Facebook that you don’t want someone else to see, particularly if it could damage you in any way.”

Even if you think that only a few select friends have access to your “secret” raunchy Facebook profile, you don’t know who is sitting around their computer screens viewing those bawdy exchanges (or photos) with them, knowing full well it’s you. Let’s not even talk about what happens if one of your fellow “bawdy buddies” suddenly decides that you’re public enemy number one, instead of a trusted friend. And there are other ways that your personal information can become out of your control once it is posted on the Internet.

If that harmful or negative information you posted on Facebook can be viewed by a single person, then there are countless ways for it to be seen by others and preserved as potential and damning evidence against you.

Do you value your present (or future) professional reputation, but still want to get raunchy or photographed with a Chippendale in your lap? Then don’t do it on the Internet.

Social Media Tip: Don’t put anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t want your present or future co-workers to see, and check your Facebook privacy settings right now!

2 Responses to Social Media 101: Facebook Can Cost You a Paycheck

  1. I've read several news articles and researched for additional details before coming to a conclusion.

    I'm sorry to say this, but it sounds like to me that this woman is just lazy. Anyone who really had a depression [or other mental] problem would NOT be posting photos on facebook, much less continuing to post photos on facebook. This whole "I have a depression problem" is just one that ANYONE can fake.

    Now as for the argument of how facebook profiles should have been locked and private… there is NO such thing as keeping things "safe" and locked on the net. ANYTHING that gets posted or sent [yes that includes EMAIL] through the net STAYS on the net. I've known this simple FACT for years.

    As for the insurance company being "in the wrong" to snoop and discontinue her benefits… I'm sorry, but they have every right to know if someone is handing them a line a sh!t just to get free money out of the deal. There ARE people out there who REALLY do need and deserve to have health insurance, but don't get it because of individuals like this woman who make it bad for everyone else. I commend the insurance company for buckling down and I wish that other leeching individuals would get caught and cut off too.

    Bottom line: it doesn't pay to be a thief, liar, lazy, money moocher. Let this be a lesson for anyone who thinks it's ok to suck on the system while others pay their hard earned money for it. IBM would be wise to not allow the woman to come back to the job. Instead, they should tell her to take a hike, as this story I'm sure will have some sort of bad reflection on the corporation. If this woman is capable of going to a beach weekly and capable of going to night clubs to see male dancers, then she's most certainly capable of working a normal job like a normal human being.

    Don't feel sorry for con artists. They're good at sucking people dry of their money.

Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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