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Cheerleader Sues Over Facebook Privacy Invasion

When it comes to Facebook, there's a simple rule of thumb that people seem to always forget: If you don't want someone to see a photo or read a comment, don't post it. Had this rule been applied more often, there'd be fewer lawsuits stemming from content posted on the social-networking giant.

According to Ars Technica, high school cheerleader Mandi Jackson has filed suit through her parents against the Pearl, Mississippi school district after she was allegedly forced to turn over her Facebook log-in information to her cheerleading coach on September 10, 2007. The lawsuit (PDF) claims she was also subjected to cruel and unusual punishment after the coach disseminated "profanity-laced" messages to the rest of the staff, after Jackson had exchanged notes with a fellow cheerleader about politics within the squad.

Should teachers (or coaches) have the right to access to student passwords?
Yes6766 (4.4%)
No143430 (93.5%)
I'm not sure.3229 (2.1%)

Jackson is claiming that this discussion -- which she intended to keep private and was allegedly sent via personal message -- was then shared with other school officials and administrators, who "reprimanded, punished, and humiliated" her. She told the Student Press Law Center: "I would have been completely fine with the school officials looking at my public [profile on] Facebook, but I think they went too far with getting my password and looking at my personal messages between me and my peers."

Take heed, young and old alike, be careful what you post, and be even more careful about who might see it. Oh, and, as a rule, don't give your log-in information to anyone, even your coaches or teachers, lest you suffer this terrible fate. [From: Student Press Law Center and WAPT via Ars Technica]

Facebook Crime and Punishment

    Sending any personal info or incriminating pictures to someone on Facebook is a huge mistake for many reasons. One of the worst possible outcomes is getting blackmailed for money, sex, or, well, anything these sickos dream up. Really, whether they're using a fake profile or not, it's a horrible idea. Read up on the story of an 18-year-old who blackmailed 31 male classmates after he posed as a girl and asked for nude pictures. That's lesson enough.

    Sure, it can be harmless to impersonate a celeb online or create a fake profile for a movie character. But seriously, there's a definite line you shouldn't cross when pretending to be someone else and it can lead to dire consequences for you. Maybe it's not as extreme as the Moroccan man who was jailed for 43 days after creating a fake Facebook profile of a prince, but you never know. Just steer clear of it.

    Do we really have to explain this? Just look up the shoplifter who posed with her stolen merchandise, the many photos of drunk underage teens, and, most recently, the album featuring a couple who killed and ate an endangered iguana in the Bahamas.

    Social networking sites has been blamed for a lot of things, fairly and unfairly, but in our opinion, the worst offense has been their indirect involvement in suicides. Obviously, there are a lot of factors responsible in each case, but there does seem to be links between social networking and a rash of suicides, and obviously tehre's the case tragic of Megan Meier, who killed herself after a classmate's mom impersonated a teen boy and harassed her over Myspace.

    We've reported on numerous incidents of people getting in trouble because of their online behavior. Now, people are becoming victims because of what they're doing on the Web too. In England, a man was convicted of murdering his estranged wife after she changed her relationship status to "single." So, be careful of who can see your profile and what you're doing, no matter how harmless it seems.

    Nigerian Scammers
    Oh, you thought this only happened via poorly worded emails, right? WRONG. Once people got wise to their old ways, these con men are turning to social networking sites for new targets. This time, they're hacking into people's accounts and impersonating them to ask for money, usually with some weird sob story. You can check out a transcript of one of these conversations here.

    Even if the law isn't on a case, a victim, his friends, or empathetic strangers might be. Since it's easy to get word out for anything online, people are using blogs, forums, and social networking sites to help track down criminals. In one such case, a vehicle thief was tracked down by a bunch of anonymous car enthusiasts after the victim posted his story on a forum. In the end, they identified the guy through his Facebook profile.

    Do we really have to explain this? Just look up the shoplifter who posed with her stolen merchandise, the many photos of drunk underage teens, and, most recently, the album featuring a couple who killed and ate an endangered iguana in the Bahamas.

[Ed. Note: Oops! As many of you pointed out, the coach disseminated the messages to the rest of the staff, not 'decimated.']

Tags: cheerleaders, facebook, facebook face loss, FacebookFaceLoss, lawsuit, privacy, school, socialnetworking, top



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