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!