Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Man Loses Job Over Facebook Picture

    Computer ethics is quickly evolving into one of the most prevalent topics in today's technologically based society. At any given moment you can get onto a social media site and "post" pictures at  your whim. However, when does this ease of use become a threat? For one young man, a recent college grad, a simple picture on Facebook cost him a job at a prestigious law firm. With a quick search on the computer, his possible employers found a picture of him using illegal substances in college and just like that his future dramatically changed for the worse. 
Photo courtesy of
     Although the grad claims that he had no knowledge of the pictures existence, nonetheless it's existence on Facebook, he has no legal claims against his friend who posted the picture. According to the Copyright code, the person who takes the photograph is the owner of his/her intellectual property, not the subjects within the photo. However, according to the Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics, "Thou shalt not use a computer to harm other people." With this in consideration, the young man affected by the photo could address his friend and tell him the harm it has caused him and ask him to take it down. Being a friend, the picture will most likely be taken down so as not to cause further harm and the young man can progress towards a better future. Whether or not it was ethical for his friend to post the picture is not as clear. However, the young man may have been aware at the time of the picture that he was being photographed. We must also consider the fact that our world is so interwoven with technology that we must always watch our actions because it could always end up on film or in a photo.
     The law firm in question had every right to search the background of the grad they are considering for hire. They are hiring him to represent their business and do not want any liabilities on their hands if they knowingly hire a man with questionable character. That being said, I also think that the young man's friend who worked at the law firm was also in the right when he told him why he did not get hired. His intentions were good in that he wanted his friend to be aware of his mistake so that he may address the problem and not have it happen again.
      As for the young man himself, he should immediately address his friend and have all pictures that could harm his future career taken off the internet. He should use this as a learning experience and avoid situations in which there is a camera that could take unflattering pictures of his character or simply avoid the illegal, unflattering behavior in the first place!! Then there would be no problem to address.

Computer Ethics Institute. Web. 27 Sept. 2012.


1 comment:

  1. I looked through almost everyone, and finally, someone who did this topic. poor grad, that would be horrific