Facebook posts by Swansea students ‘could damage careers’ (BBC NEWS)
Students have been warned that posting tales of their nights out on social networking sites could damage their career prospects.
It comes after a Facebook page was set up to encourage Swansea University undergraduates to disclose tales of binge-drinking and sexual exploits.
The university said employers use the internet to research potential employees.
In March, a Swansea student was jailed for posting racially offensive remarks.
The university and the students’ union said posting details of indecent behaviour could result in disciplinary action and warned that the internet was governed by defamation laws.
In a joint statement, registrar Raymond Ciborowski and students’ union president Tom Upton said: “We are seriously concerned about the nature and content of this page, on several fronts.
“Students are sharing personal information, including explicit content, with an anonymous page administrator, who has no accountability,” it said.
“We have received complaints from students and alumni about the potential damage this page could do to their own employability, as a result of damage to the university’s reputation.
“Companies are increasingly searching for information on job applicants and the organisations they are connected to – already 30% of UK HR [human resources] directors use social media to recruit candidates, and 22% check candidates’ online activity.”
The university and union said there is no evidence that the page administrator is even a fellow student.
“As a result, participants’ personal details could potentially be made publicly available – for viewing by fellow students, staff, public, press, potential employers, etc,” the statement said.
The university’s regulations state it is a disciplinary offence to bring the university into disrepute – this includes social media activity.
“The internet and social media are governed by laws relating to defamation and public order, and as a result, there is no such thing as absolute freedom of speech,” the statement said.
In March 2012, Swansea University student Liam Stacey, 21, was jailed for posting racially offensive comments on Twitter about footballer Fabrice Muamba.
Stacey, from Pontypridd, admitted inciting racial hatred over remarks about the Bolton Wanderers player, who collapsed during a FA Cup tie at Tottenham.
Muamba, 23, suffered a cardiac arrest at the game but has since recovered.
Stacey was jailed for 56 days.
2 January 2013 – BBC News