Be Careful What You Write About Online

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 27, 2009
Updated • Dec 16, 2012

With all the social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and the million others out there it becomes very easy to tell the world about yourself. What many users of those social networks do not realize is that their writings can have consequences in the real world. A young women got only recently fired from here job at a British marketing company because she mentioned on her Facebook profile that her job was boring. She did not mention the name of the company in the posting but it was enough for the company to react on the message.

Consequences do not have to be job related though, think about using dating sites will in a relationship, posting untrue comments about people in bulletin boards or simply participating in the occasional flame war on a favorite forum. Those things usually do not backfire but if they do it can quickly become ugly for the offender. Many Internet users still think that the Internet is a lawfree environment where they can post anything they want without fearing consequences in real life. The realization that this is not the case usually comes when it is to late to change the cause of action.

The reaction of the company that fired the employee for the Facebook comment was a harsh one. Many would have probably asked the employee to remove the offending comment and most employees would probably comply immediately. It does serve as a prime example though as to what can happen if you are not careful about your online postings.

Some countries go even further than this. They make the website owners responsible for the content on their websites. This leads to some ridiculous situations where not only the poster but also the website owner face consequences for the data that has been posted on the website. Users should be aware that their online postings might come back at them at some time in the future in a non pleasant way no matter where they live or post.

Which leads to the question: Are you cautious about what you post online? Do you have any rules or guidelines that you follow? As a company, what would be your stance? Let us know in the comments.


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  1. Roman ShaRP said on March 9, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    I’m trying to be careful, but it’s somewhat late for me to become anonymous. I don’t have much to hide, though – I’m pretty happy with my job.

    But I can say that I was helped with two my last jobs with men who knows me online. So, sometimes consequences can be pleasant too.

  2. Saurabh said on February 28, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Well,in India our supreme court recently refused to pardon a guy for writing in a hate group in Orkut. The hate group was actually directed against a major political party (well known for its divisive politics btw). It is really sad when such things happen.

  3. Jojo said on February 28, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    This is one of the reasons that I NEVER use my real name or address online, always use disposable email addresses and don;t have a any profiles on sites like Facebook. If you did happen to know my real name and Googled me, you would find nothing.

    This will help for normal companies searching for your information.

    But remember that your ISP knows who you are and every web resource that you have ever visited And at least in the USA, the government can get access to that information.

    I would not be at all surprised to find out that the government has some secret unit which complies posts and profiles for many people, linking info together as only the government can do.

    And it doesn’t even help if you are using TOR, JAP or other anonymity services. After all, you don’t really know who is hosting the servers. JoeCools service may really be a government hosted server intercepting all messages.

    Martin knows who I am and where I live since he sent me a t-shirt in the past. Did you destroy those records Martin? :)

  4. gokudomatic said on February 27, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    my guideline is not to speak too much about my job or my own life.
    Anyway, when I start to badmouth I have always a rise of small paranoid feeling; I never know who might read me.

  5. Robert said on February 27, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    I’m curious as to who found this. What were they doing?

    Now, we know the name of the company.

    BTW-We all have freedom of speech.

    Be careful of what you say.

  6. Dante said on February 27, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    I have never understood people who post their inner most musing and desires on a public web. Nor the ones who rant and rave about “The Man” using their real names.

    Than they get surprised when “The Man” doesn’t feel like hiring them. And it’s “not fair”.

    The Company fired this one because she can’t keep her mouth shut. Can you imagine clients with pre-launch intel working with this marketing firm and noticed her blabbing all over Facebook?

  7. TreasureIslandVegas said on February 27, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Thanks for the advice, good post

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