Students who get into trouble solely for being part of a Facebook group may be able to contest a school’s action against them. Constitutional Law professor Richard Del Guidice stated that schools who go after students for just being part of a Facebook group the college has a problem with would be on “thin ice.” It is imperative for students attending state universities that they know they do not have the first amendment privileges they may have at a private institution or in the real world. A state college does not have to accommodate due process as they follow administrative law in their decision making process. But on the same hand, a school’s definition of harassment remains hard to define. Any school that tries to define speech that may get a student into trouble on Facebook runs the risk of their rule being overbroad and covering speech that may otherwise have been protected. Dr. Del Guidice advises that there is an “evanescent line” between what is permissible and impressible speech making this area difficult for schools to come to terms with.
Simply put however, sending another student at your school a message on facebook that says, “I fucking hate you” is equivalent to walking into the bar and saying the same sentence to the same student. “Poking” people or sending them unsolicited sexual advances may be dangerous for students to do as well and lead to lawsuits allegeding sexual harassment. If a student posts a photo of you or information about you without your permission you could sue them under the “misappropriation of a person” tort. Unless better controls are implemented Facebook and its users may be faced with litigation in the near future. “Mark my words” Dr. Del Guidice stated, “there will be lawsuits against Facebook.
Chip Morris commented, “Facebook is a great technology. When used appropriately it is nice to have, but can be abused very easily and there are consequences of that abuse. Students think of Facebook as a private journal but it is a much bigger deal.” Mr. Morris went on, “What students don’t think about is, ‘is that how I want to represent myself’” when they post on Facebook. They don’t realize how available that information is to people with limited knowledge of students,” Danielle Perry, Director of Public Relations for Monster.com, agrees." People do need to keep in mind that information they post online (whether in a resume, profile, or otherwise) should be considered public information. Therefore, it is in their best interest to keep such documents accurate and appropriate for all to view, and follow established privacy guidelines to protect themselves (i.e. do not provide your social security number or bank account information, etc.).” Potential employers with a lack of information about a student could theoretically access Facebook and other sites to get information about an individual. Students must be mindful of the type of material that goes into their profile on Facebook.