Sombody’s Watching Me, or is it Facebook!?

Every week I’ll be doing one post for a class I’m in that deals with Internet legal issues. Here’s the first one!

The first time I heard about Facebook was from an article in the Boston Globe back when I was in high school. At the time I didn’t know many people in college, but as some of my friends graduated and joined facebook, I became much more aware of it. Once I was accepted into UMass, as soon as I got my student email address, I joined facebook. (back when you needed a legit college email address to join… those were the days)

I’ve read alot over the years as facebook has grown into a giant scary website, where potential employers can look at pictures of you boozin’ with your pals on the weekend. This aspect of facebook really bothers me. I fail to see how employers can judge their applicants based on what they find on their facebook accounts, this seems like an invasion of privacy to me. Facebook has nothing to do with working at whatever company someone might be applying to, or possible job performance. At the least employers could alert people whether or not they would be searching for dirt about them online.

This is essentially what looking at someones facebook profile is if you were going to decide whether or not to hire them. Why else would they want to look at it? “Oh you like The Beatles, we here at Acme Co. also like The Beatles, you got the job!” Employers simply seem to be looking for reasons not to hire someone by looking at what they’ve posted online.

Another issue the Guardian article brings up are the custom ads generated based on your interests, which some feel is also an invasion of privacy. This doesn’t really bother me since the ads are usually along the lines of, “Like Radiohead? Take this quiz and test you Radiohead knowledge!” Why in the world would I want to do this? I can’t see how these ads are really all that effective, I don’t think I’ve ever clicked on one. Plus I use a FireFox plugin that blocks ads, so I don’t see them anyway.  Finally, I don’t appreciate the author’s smug, “I’m cooler than facebook because I read books and maintain a garden instead” attitude. You read books!? Woah, no way!!

The article about trolls was really interesting. As an occasional lurker over on 4chan, it was interesting to read about what goes on behind the scenes. I’ve always wondered who the especially crazy internet users are, and these seem to be the craziest. 4chan can be hilarious, disturbing, and outright strange all at once. I’ve read about lots of incidents like the ones talked about in the article, with users terrorizing others through hacking Myspaces and spamming their phones. This is definitely going a little to far, and obviously could have legal implications, but the fact is these people are never caught, and probably won’t be anytime soon. That being said, its impossible to go on any forum, blog, or elsewhere where people can leave comments and not find trolls. Its often funny to see people getting into flame wars with trolls, they’re part of the internet and always will be.

In other news, Here’s that song from those Geico commercials with the googly-eyed money.

This song is heavy! Turn it up!


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