Facebook is a great service — my 17-year-old daughter and all her friends use it (I have an account too), and so does my cousin who is at McGill University in Montreal, where she engages in the typical sort of debauchery expected of second-year college students, and then posts pictures of said debauchery on her site for all her friends to see. I warn her about that from time to time, because you never know where those pictures are going to wind up.
What got me thinking about that again was reading on Engtech’s blog about a couple of employees of Farm Boy in Ottawa who were fired as a result of some stories they posted on a Facebook group, one of which allegedly involved theft from the store. There are more details in the Sun story, but in any case, they were fired despite having what was reportedly a stellar record at the store.
They were also fired despite the fact that Facebook groups are private, and you have to be invited to get into one. Similarly, Facebook profiles and pictures are not viewable unless someone invites you. However, in what was probably a poor decision, they all used their real names — and, as Engtech points out, one of them was fairly distinctive. That made it pretty easy to track down who it was. This kind of thing has happened before and likely will again.
A story from the Globe about well-known weatherman Percy Saltzman, who passed away recently, shows that it’s not just teenaged bloggers that need to think about the impact of what they are writing — 91-year-old weathermen might want to think about it a bit too.