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keeping you and your family safe
When you tap away on your computer keyboard on smartphone screen by yourself, there is the illusion that social media is intimate and personal. In reality it is global and public. Sending a social media message to one person or a small group does not ensure that it will stop there. There are countless examples of social media posts aimed at a limited number of people going viral with disastrous consequences.
December 2013: The communications director of huge Internet company is fired after tweeting "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!" Justine Sacco tweeted her modest group of followers when she boarded a plane in London. By the time she arrived in South Africa, 11 hours later, it had been retweeted more than 2,000 times and her career in public relations was over. There were people waiting for her plane to arrive at the airport just to see the look on her face when she found out. This is someone who really should have known better, but a single careless moment changed her life forever.
June 2015: Six bank employees are fired for posting a photograph on Instagram of a mock Islamic State-style execution. They claimed it was a team building exercise and harmless fun. Their bosses at the bank disagreed when the photo went viral. It was not the image an international bank wants to portray.
October 2015: Daniel F. Gallagher, the head of the Cook County (Chicago) States Attorney's Office's civil actions bureau resigns after his Facebook posts are exposed. He mocked Michelle Obama's rear end, said of Hillary Clinton "da Bitch ugly," and called Catholic priest Rev. Michael Pfleger a "pfraud" for his anti-gun views. All indications are that Gallagher was a smart and politically savvy guy. He was a highly paid attorney overseeing 120 other lawyers representing one of the largest counties in the country. However, he apparently thought it would be acceptable to post these things as a public official during work hours. Are his comments protected by the First Amendment? Possibly, but that is not really relevant here. His boss was running for reelection and Gallagher lost his $153,000/year job. You can exercise your rights and still suffer a consequence.
It is important to remember that sending a social media message to just a few people does not guarantee that it will stay within that small group. In fact, you should always assume that everything you post on social media will be seen by everyone in the world. Hopefully that will make you think before posting anything that could be viewed negatively by anyone.