It was reported today on Mashable that a teaching aide in Michigan, USA, has been suspended from her job because she refused to allow her employers to access her Facebook page.
It appears that the lady concerned was reported by one of her Facebook “friends” for uploading a photograph that her “friend” found unbecoming of a teacher.
The school concerned asked for access to the Facebook page in order to investigate the complaint.
The lady refused and insisted that she had done nothing wrong and that her Facebook page was private. The local education authority decided that she was guilty until proven innocent and duly suspended her from her duties.
Now, I’m not going to comment on what may or may not be deemed appropriate for any particular trade or profession. What I do find incensing is that employers and agencies are leaning towards believing they have the right to access, judge and act on the private actions of an individual. I mean, if this lady had sent an unbecoming photo through the post, would her employer be within their rights to open the letter?
Personally, I believe we’re only a stones throw away (ok, maybe only if you throw like a girl!) from watching Facebook become instrumental in facilitating the erosion of personal privacy. I’m not exactly pointing the finger at Facebook. I just believe it will be instrumental in helping authorities, agencies and organisations to pry on our private lives.
So, while I can see the benefits of using Facebook for business, Im still far from convinced of the real value in us posting our personal lives on any online platform.