A few quick social media stories today.
High School is always an interesting time for teenagers and it looks like social media is making it a bit more complicated. Or at least in Garrett, Indiana where student Austin Carroll was expelled for dropping the f-bomb in a tweet. Admittedly, he did drop it five times, which takes some effort if you ask me. The tweet was sent from Carroll’s own computer and not during school time. The school district monitors all social media activity and saw the tweet the following morning, so he was expelled. This seems like a rather harsh penalty, expulsion rather than detention or suspension. Forbes has a decent overview on why it may be appropriate for a school to monitor its students’ social media activity (bullying, threats of violence, etc.) but that still doesn’t resolve the punishment issue. It sounds like the student may have already had a history of issues with the administration because this seems like overkill for a first offense. But as bloggers like Tecca point out, you shouldn’t really expect things you post online to be private.
But I guess Congressman Ed Perlmutter (Democrat, Colorado) doesn’t read Tecca. He recently introduced an amendment in the US House of Representatives that would allow the FCC to create a rule preventing employers from asking for social media passwords from applicants. He posted the following on his website concerning the bill:
People have an expectation of privacy when using social media like Facebook and Twitter. They have an expectation that their right to free speech and religion will be respected when they use social media outlets. No American should have to provide their confidential personal passwords as a condition of employment. Both users of social media and those who correspond share the expectation of privacy in their personal communications. Employers essentially can act as imposters and assume the identity of an employee and continually access, monitor and even manipulate an employee’s personal social activities and opinions. That’s simply a step too far.
So at least one Representative thinks there is an expectation of privacy on social media, even on Twitter. Whatever that means. But the bill was voted down along party lines (only one Republican voted for the bill).
Copyright violations on social media isn’t a new subject but Pinterest has certainly elevated the discussion. In the wake of adopting new terms, Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann took down his board. No surprise, it was one of the most popular boards with millions of followers and over 4,000 pins. The takedown was quiet and the board is slowly being recreated (with highly vetted material, I’m guessing). This issue is far from over and I’m glad someone is forcing us to come to terms with it. Facebook and others made it easy to share copyrighted material, but it was even easier to post your own content so the discussion was muddied. With Pinterest it’s actually easier to post someone else’s content than to upload your own (for most users, anyway). Pinterest’s explosive popularity is bringing copyright in the social age to the forefront and we’ll continue to see this story develop over the years ahead.