Be anti-social and stay private

Opinion

Be anti-social and stay private

Social media - Twitter, Facebook and the like - have a lot to answer for. Divorce, terrorist threats and dismissals are all well known consequences of poorly judged postings. Indeed, the biggest mistake that many users make is to assume that posts are private.

Well, in a landmark decision the Press Complaints Commission have given their first formal ruling on social media and privacy. They decided that in this case a Twitter posting was not private and there should not have been any expectation as such.

The complaint revolved around the publishing in a national paper of a tweet. The PCC decided that privacy could not exist because tweets were published and were capable of being re-tweeted without the authors consent.

For employers this means that, to an extent, they can use social media to check up on employees (both actual and potential) when considering job applications and disciplinary matters. For employees, it means that they should moderate what they post.

This was first published in March 2011

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