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Michael Phelan
Michael Phelan
Attorney • (866) 249-3164

Warning: The Adults Know All About Facebook and Myspace

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I am not one of those parents who wants to invade my teenagers’ privacy and spy on their MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, or other social media sites.  But I do want them and other teens and young adults to understand that what they place on their Facebook or Myspace site is on the Internet forever.  That means college admissions offices, future employers, and, yes, lawyers may one day check their sites.  Many lawyers make a practice of researching the social media sites of all parties and witnesses in a legal case.  I am amazed by the embarrassing photographs and statements people put on their sites and by the increasing number of stories about this embarrassing information coming back to haunt the subject of the photographs or author of the statements at trial or in business settings.  Facebook and Myspace are no longer under the adult radar screen.  In fact, the former Harvard college kids who came up with the idea for this social media recently sued the creator of Facebook for allegedly stealing their idea.  Given the fact that your pages are no longer being viewed only by your friends and peers, consider doing the following.  First, figure out how to activate all of the privacy features of your site.  Some of the privacy settings do not prevent tech savvy investigators from accessing your site through one of your “friend’s” sites.   Second, and more importantly, don’t be stupid and you won’t have to worry about security.  Don’t put on your site photos of yourself getting bombed or engaging in embarrassing behavior.  Don’t write about illegal drug use or anything else you don’t want the world to be able to read.  It is becoming increasingly likely that what you put on an unsecured site will one day come back to humiliate you.