What are the emerging legal and ethical issues with Facebook?
As we all begin to live a parallel life on the web, traditional privacy rights are slipping away. Colleges and companies routinely search Facebook and MySpace to determine whether to admit or to hire people. According to a 2009 Harris poll, 35 percent of employers reject job applicants because of information found on social networks—if the person is dressed provocatively in photos, writes about getting drunk, or complains about past employers, co-workers, or clients (all perfectly legal behaviors).
Almost every personal injury case now has a social network connection. When a hospital clerical worker’s chair collapsed, she suffered such extensive injuries that she underwent four operations to insert rods in her spine and screws in her neck.
The defendant chair company won a court order for access to her present and past Facebook and MySpace posts.
The judge held that if photos showed her smiling or traveling [after the accident], she could not have been injured that badly. But why shouldn’t someone with a horrible injury still be able to show a stiff upper lip on the web?