On web for life

Once it goes online it’s never really off again. These are words that ring very true for the some persons and some companies likes of LIAT.

The regional airline’s not so well thought through attempt to have a laugh at itself while challenging Virgin Atlantic to a “race” all but backfired in Biblical proportions in its face.

And still today, many weeks after removing the video from their official YouTube channel, it can be still found floating around the web.

So likewise, what we place in orbit in the cloud, shouldn’t be anything we wouldn’t want others to see. It is still very controversial whether or not employers can use information from employees’ social media accounts against them, but the truth is it happens.

Many employers search social networks for their new potential employee’s profile to get a more “real-world feel” of them, and there have even been reports or some persons being asked for the login information for their accounts during interviews.

We all have seen stories of someone updating their status about how much they hate their boss, or why they called in sick, only to have said boss not only comment on the status but also fire them there and then.

And if that doesn’t rattle your cage just a little bit, just recently Facebook released a list of governments that have requested information regarding some of its users/citizens, with our very own Barbados appearing on that list.

The report, released last Tuesday, covers every request the company has received from every government from January through June 30. Facebook said the report included requests made for security reasons and for criminal cases.

In the latter, the company may be asked, for example, to supply information to help authorities in robbery or kidnapping cases. In those requests, the company said, officials often seek data on users’ names or length of service and sometimes users’ IP address or “actual account content”.

Although no real information was given on whose account information was requested on, it still makes you wonder: Was I one of the three? Was it a truly legitimate request for information into criminal activity? Or was it a mere abuse of governmental power?

Nevertheless, the information has been requested, and continues to be requested, but the question is: Does your personal Facebook account affect you as a professional? Should my life outside of work, off company hours, be key in whether or not I am considered for a position.

My opinion is that it shouldn’t, but the truth is, it does. So you are now left with a few options — temper your account use, and post fewer bathroom duckfaced selfies and drunken pics.

Remember it’s not up to Facebook or any other social network for that matter to worry about the confidentiality of your personal information — it’s up to you, the user, to put the right measures in place.

It’s like leaving your doors unlocked and all the windows open when you are away from home, then blaming the police when you get robbed. I will continue to say: Be careful what you post and how you post (which is also very important) as many persons are unaware of the dangers of posting pictures from smartphones due the GPS information encoded in the meta data of the photo, which can be a predator’s dream. But I will cover this next week, because once it goes online you can never really get it off again.

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