Facebook’s Life-Changing Consequences
You may have already heard of some Facebook horror stories from friends, families, or in the news. Seemingly innocent posts, pictures or comments can have deleterious effects to your friendships. With some people having hundreds of supposed “friends” on Facebook, it is impossible to avoid stepping on some toes and offending the odd person.
Others have experienced real, life-changing consequences from their Facebook posts. Take Caitlin Davis, for example, a New England Patriots cheerleader. She posted pictures to Facebook of her posing with a passed out friend. The incoherent boy had phallic images and swastikas drawn on his body. The pictures were seen by the wrong people. Caitlin lost her job.
Your Profile Can By Your Best Friend and Worst Enemy
Facebook is a method of sharing opinions, photos, life events and even your weekend trip to the lake. However, if you are on disability or have made an insurance claim, these pictures and posts can get you into real trouble. Some car insurers hire investigators to surf Facebook and other social media sites to obtain evidence against you, proving that you are not as injured as you say you are.
Take Debra (a pseudonym), for example. She made a claim against her auto insurance after being t-boned in a car accident. She said she was unable to work and could not keep up the maintenance of her home. However, investigators found her main profile picture on Facebook and it was a shot of her rock climbing and smiling for the camera. Such evidence is used to not only strip Debra of her benefits, but charge her with insurance fraud.
Your social media posts can also get you fired
CBSNews reported that a pizza restaurant waitress named Ashley Johnson was fired after writing rude remarks about customers on her Facebook page. She not only noted the restaurant name in her Facebook post, but used profanity and insulted some unnamed customers.
Others have been disciplined or let go of over Facebook pictures and remarks. For example, one woman I spoke with was fired for calling in sick to work and subsequently posting suspicious things to Facebook. She used her sick day to go golfing and took pictures of the greens. I didn’t help that she showed up for work the next day with a sunburn. Another widely-reported case was of a Nationale Suisse employee that called in sick claiming she could not sit in front of a computer because of the glare. She was discovered to be surfing Facebook for the better part of her sick day and was subsequently relieved of her duties because of it.
How you can protect yourself:
- Change your account and privacy settings on your social media account so that only your friends can see your pictures and posts. The only public image available should be your current profile picture.
- Consider making a list of “exclusive friends” or people you trust and only allow them to see certain posts and pictures.
- Never trash your co-workers, boss, customers or the company you work for on any form of social media. If you need to complain, call your friends over and mull it over in person!
- If you call in sick, resist the urge to make posts to social media sites.
Social media is a means for connecting with people. Remember that any picture or post that you put up is available for all of your friends and potential the world to see. Employers, insurers and investigators regularly patrol these sites for numerous reasons – not the least of which are to determine your eligibility for insurance benefits, charge you with a criminal offence, and gather evidence to dismiss you from your job. Your reputation – among other things – can take a real beating.