Facebook or fired

Drunken videos and photos could cost you a job in the future. Not only is there the obstacle of the recession holding students back from getting a job once they have graduated, but posting inappropriate photos and videos on Facebook, which may seem like fun at the time, could also jeopardise their chances.

Bernie Russell, a lecturer at the University of Lincoln warns: “In the UK, about a quarter of employers check potential employees on Facebook before hiring them”.

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Illustrated drunken adventures on Facebook won't help your career. | Photo: Anneka James

You cannot control prospective employees checking up on you if your profile information is public. Bernie says: “People just think social networking is fun and exciting, whereas I don’t think that privacy is taken seriously enough. I’ve talked to students about this before, and found that almost all of them have put their real date of birth on their Facebook profiles. This is a key piece of identity, and it can be a dangerous thing to do.”

The growing popularity of social networking sites seems to have an advantage for employers as they can see a side to future and current employees that they would normally keep hidden. “There’s no doubt that it can affect your employability if you have drunken photos,” Bernie warns.

Not only could it prevent you from being hired, Facebook could get you fired. Typing into Google search engine “Fired because of”, the first two suggested searches are “Facebook” and “Facebook status”.

There have been lots of news stories where this has been the case. An Argos employee wrote on Facebook: “I Work At Argos And Can’t Wait To Leave Because It’s S**t” and was subsequently fired.

Denise Bigwood, of Argos’s press office, told The Linc that they considered the situation as gross misconduct.

“Placing inappropriate entries on Facebook is against our company policy on the acceptable use of the internet. It is our responsibility to investigate these situations fully and we are forced to take any appropriate action,” Bigwood says.

Another concerning issue is that it’s not just jobs that Facebook can put at stake, but people are also putting themselves at risk of identity theft. Bernie advises people to think twice before putting too much information about themselves online.

“It dismays me that most people aren’t aware when it comes to the privacy of their online accounts. I advise people to read the privacy settings on social networking sites. See what you can do to protect yourself,” Bernie says.

Britain is renowned for being a “surveillance society”, but security cameras aren’t the only thing we need to worry about. Bernie describes another of Facebook’s shortcomings: “If Labour makes it through the next elections, they have plans to keep a record of all of our social networking contacts to maintain information about everyone. There are already the risks of online bullying and identity theft, but there’s also the worry of the state spying on us.”

Bernie’s final warning to those Facebook addicts: “It can be a hard balancing act. Of course you want to post funny videos and have a laugh, but you also want a job.”

So, there’s something to think about, as even information that you delete from Facebook could still be accessible through Google.

Lastly, to those who haven’t read Facebook’s privacy policy, here are a few highlights:

“When you use Facebook, you may set up your personal Profile, form relationships, send messages, perform searches… we collect this information.” ‘“e do not guarantee that User Content you post on the Site will not be viewed by unauthorised persons.” “Facebook may use information in your Profile without identifying you as an individual to third parties.”

Facebook helps us to keep in contact with people, arrange events, and upload photos. But is that all? Or are there more disadvantages to social networking sites than you’ve dared to think about? Facebook currently has around 325 million users, but despite its popularity, there are several downsides to Facebook that we should consider.

2 Responses to Facebook or fired

  1. Marc Vincent says:

    So who is that in the featured photo, and is their career henceforth ruined? I think we should be told.

  2. Rae Buckley says:

    That is me in the photo, and im fine, my career is NOT ruined! One of the best nights of my life that was! Everybody can have a few too many once in a while! It is allowed.