Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

New Software For Employers To Monitor Facebook

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the poke-with-care dept.

Privacy 342

An anonymous reader writes "The NY Times reports that a new service called Social Sentry has been released to monitor employees' Facebook and Twitter accounts for $2 to $8 per employee. The service also plans to support MySpace, YouTube and LinkedIn by this summer. 'Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, a research and advocacy group, called the automatic monitoring of social networking a "disaster," and predicted that it would lead to people being fired for online griping, the airing of political views and other innocuous conversation. There is a tendency to react to an off-color joke or complaint that appears online more harshly than to the same comment made in a cafeteria or company picnic.'"

cancel ×

342 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Easy enough to avoid (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31660476)

1. Don't use Facebook on company computers
2. Keep your profile private
3. Don't post work related topics on other user's profiles (they may not be private)

Re:Easy enough to avoid (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660536)

1. Yes
2. Yes.
3. Yeah, too bad non-work-related posts may be damaging as well. Your personal, non-work opinions and writings can get you into trouble at work, whether that's fair or not.

Re:Easy enough to avoid (1)

contrapunctus (907549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661078)

For #3, you have to trust your friends; what if one of friends is a coworker and shows stuff to your boss, etc... So #1 is the best bet. Or completely separate work-facebook from home-facebook (don't add anyone connected to your work to your home-facebook account). Wow that's just too much work.

Re:Easy enough to avoid (1)

AnEducatedNegro (1372687) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661140)

Can't have more than one facebook account. Against facebook TOS

unenforceable i know, but still

Re:Easy enough to avoid (2, Insightful)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660590)

No, the way this would work is that they monitor ALL your usage and so you get screwed when you're not at work and are griping.

Nothing to do with being at work and using the services.

Hardly enough. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31660752)

That's hardly enough. Suppose you're an American who holds Democratic views. Your superiors happen to be hardcore Republicans (the fucking crazy kind).

They're monitoring your social media profiles, and see that you've joined Facebook groups supporting health care reform, joined some groups opposing the illegal invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, you've made some comments suggesting you think it's fine for homosexuals to marry and adopt children, and you once twittered a pro-abortion news article link.

Now, they wouldn't have known this about you otherwise. But now they do know. Even if they don't fire you outright, they'll treat you differently, for sure. Maybe they won't trust you. Maybe they won't give you tasks that would allow you to further your career. After all, they probably don't like you any more, just because some political views you expressed differ from theirs.

All that can happen without you using your account at work, without you discussing work-related matters, and even if you keep your profile "private" (which for Facebook these days seems to mean it's open to just about anyone...).

Re:Hardly enough. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661062)

I'm be more worried about the illegal health care reform then the legal war in Iraq, but why let common sense spoil your moment, eh?

Re:Hardly enough. (-1, Offtopic)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661224)

hardcore Republicans (the fucking crazy kind).

If holding on the constitution with the same exact views as our founding fathers did is crazy then, I am a complete loon and proud of it!

Re:Hardly enough. (3, Insightful)

Wizard Drongo (712526) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661286)

Well, the founding fathers kept slaves, and thought that was just dandy so yeah, holding the same views as 18th century folks in the 21st century does make you fucking crazy

Re:Hardly enough. (1, Troll)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661252)

Simpler solution:

1) Don't work for assholes.....

Re:Hardly enough. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661282)

The problem here isn't Facebook. It's the farce of "at-will" employment. You're not really free when expressing your political opinions outside of work could cause you to lose your job.

Re:Easy enough to avoid (5, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660808)

4) Have two names, one for work and one for home.

(I learned this the hard way, since people called Archimedius Thrublepants-Kopovski aren't exactly common).

Re:Easy enough to avoid (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660864)

I learned this the hard way, since people called Archimedius Thrublepants-Kopovski aren't exactly common

P.S. Oh buggering bastard fuck a la mode, that's torn it.

You must post ITT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661176)

if you went to Facebook and searched for Mr. Thrublepants. Oh, just me? Never mind, then.

Re:Easy enough to avoid (3, Insightful)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660972)

1. Don't use Facebook

Why did you type all that extra text when you had the perfect solution from the beginning?

The airing of political views (3, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660478)

Hey, people in the work place have to keep their mouths shut already about politics without Facebook.

Re:The airing of political views (1)

t33jster (1239616) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660648)

Hey, people in the work place have to keep their mouths shut already about politics without Facebook.

Maybe so (depending on where you work and what type of assholes you work for), but you can speak openly about your opinions at home or in a public place (even if your coworkers are there). The problem here is that it doesn't matter where you are when you post your rants, there's a possibility that your employer has subscribed to some service that will trawl the internets for your posts, similar to a pre-employment google search (which the last time we discussed it on /. we all agreed is bad too).

Re:The airing of political views (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660776)

I work for the Government in the Education field and no it wouldn't acceptable to speak out about political views if your views aren't what the workplace "norm" is. The norm is very progressive, very progressive environmental, very child advocacy and very anti-religion and anti-gun rights.

I know that I was trolled for in an "unofficial" google search to the point where my reviews on Urbanspoon that had accidentally included my email address were brought up.

So I won't friend any coworkers now and if they go searching for me then it can't be blamed on my pushing agendas on them.

Re:The airing of political views (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661248)

What happens when companies stop hiring people who don't have facebook, myspace, or twitter to monitor? That is when we will have the real trouble, because right now people choose to post to facebook, twitter, or myspace. It is their own fault for posting that information for everyone to see.

Re:The airing of political views (1)

BassMan449 (1356143) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660720)

The difference is this would be people getting in trouble for airing their views on Facebook from home. Do you think just because someone is employed means that they should talk about their views ever? If their employer tells them not to talk about it at work, fine, but the employer shouldn't be monitoring their online presence for the same things.

Re:The airing of political views (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31660856)

If you cannot afford a political opinion, you aren't allowed to have one, peon!

Good thing (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31660498)

I've never used any of those services. Everyone told me I needed to take my tinfoil hat off when I told them that this would eventually happen.

Re:Good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31660504)

More likely that you are just a troll who is heading off to delete his twitter & FB accounts right now.

What...no slashdot.org?! I'm outraged... (2, Funny)

StickInTheMud94 (1127619) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660510)

I'm outraged that slashdot.org monitoring is being left out of this! We must petition this company to include /. in the monitoring! That way we can feel safe in the knowledge that we must all bow down to our-Facebook-Myspace-LinkedIn-Twitter-/.-monitoring Overlords

and I am outraged (2, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660632)

that they won't be monitoring the mygoatse site, where we all expose our, uh, management potential...

Re:What...no slashdot.org?! I'm outraged... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31660728)

The first rule of Slashdot. We do not talk about the Slashdot.

Re:What...no slashdot.org?! I'm outraged... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660912)

The first rule of Slashdot. We do not talk about the Slashdot.

But in Soviet Russia [correction - Corporatist America], slashdot talks about YOU!!!!

This seems a little overblown (4, Insightful)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660512)

In particular it seems that this service is monitoring publicly available posts and also flagging how many of them happen during work hours. Considering employers are likely within their rights to monitor when their networks are used to make private posts, this doesn't really seem so bad.

It might serve as a wake-up call to people who share too much publicly.

Re:This seems a little overblown (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660644)

Why would you be posting while you are supposed to be working anyway? If you are stupid enough to do this at work then you deserve what you get. Most companies I have worked for have the standard disclaimer that allows them to spy on you so no big deal here. What would worry me (if I even cared about social networking etc)is someone from work looking at what I post on my own time. But then again you have no reason to expect any privacy (coming from the bastard who said privacy is dead) so what's the point. Social networking is another word for data mining which is why I don't use it.

Re:This seems a little overblown (2, Insightful)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660712)

Well you are posting on slashdot during normal work hours in the US, so there's a good chance you already know the answer to that question.

Most employers i've had have a fairly reasonable policy on that stuff. I'll post when i'm waiting on builds or during my lunch break, or sometimes when i'm just pissed off and need to "walk away" for a bit.

Your public activities outside of work have always been fair game. If I wrote a letter to the local newspaper slamming my employer then I'd fully expect that to come back to me, why should a blog post about it be any different?

Re:This seems a little overblown (1)

SirWhoopass (108232) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661284)

Your public activities outside of work have always been fair game. If I wrote a letter to the local newspaper slamming my employer then I'd fully expect that to come back to me, why should a blog post about it be any different?

I fully agree. I have a friend who has been an active political blogger for a long time, and is currently running for office. He always posted under his real name with the principle that he would not write anything online that he would say in person or in publish on paper.

Far too many people believe online messages are private conversations. I'd argue they are even less private than a letter to the editor from decades past. Back then, it was difficult to search and locate such things. If I wanted to find every letter written by Joe Somebody it would have been a large undertaking. Now it's a couple of seconds with Google.

Re:This seems a little overblown (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31660772)

Why would you be posting while you are supposed to be working anyway? If you are stupid enough to do this at work then you deserve what you get.

That mentality ignores that many salaried workers stay late to complete projects or tasks that are important to the company, even when they do not get paid for the extra hours (yes, they are being stupid).

Or, instead of a smoke break, maybe they respond to email on their pda.

Of course I don't use any of those sites, except for linkedin.

Re:This seems a little overblown (2, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660664)

Considering employers are likely within their rights to monitor when their networks are used to make private posts, this doesn't really seem so bad.

Given how many of us own personal laptops, personal smart phones, and have personal wireless data plans, this doesn't really seem so bright either. I am also legally entitled to breaks from work.

I'm actually all in favor of IT locking down and monitoring the corporate network to -protect the corporate network-. However, attempting to monitor or restrict the corporate network as a measure to control employee behaviour and/or productivity however is doomed to failure.

If the employee has a blackberry and a 15 minute break, who is management to tell them they can't update their facebook page. (Sure there are perhaps a few isolated work environments where it would be reasonable to prevent the employee. But the VAST majority of jobs out there... it just wouldn't be realistic to even attempt to enforce such a policy.

Re:This seems a little overblown (4, Interesting)

exhilaration (587191) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660676)

It might serve as a wake-up call to people who share too much publicly.

So I'm a software developer, in my early 30's, pretty tech-savy. It took me about 45 minutes (a long time, I think) digging around Facebook's privacy settings to properly hide everything. Not only do you have to go under "Privacy", but also "Application Settings" - would the average user know to do that? Apparently "Group" privacy settings are under applications??? Those settings are complicated And even now I can't hide 1) my friends list from the public 2) my pages from the public. So my point is it's hard to NOT share too much publicly with Facebook.

Re:This seems a little overblown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31660914)

So my point is it's hard to NOT share too much publicly with Facebook.

So you're in agreement that using Facebook is a bad idea.

Re:This seems a little overblown (1)

FiveLights (1012605) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661026)

I think the parent's idea was that using facebook at all is sharing too much publicly.

Re:This seems a little overblown (1)

six11 (579) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661226)

And even once you've figured out how to make your Facebookery private (or approximately private), this doesn't address (1) things your friends say or pictures tagged as you, and (2) privacy changes Facebook makes in the future without warning.

I am on Facebook but I take the view that absolutely everything I say might eventually be up for scrutiny. There's lots of rumors flying around about Zoidberg, Facebook's founder, and even if 10% of it is true, I think it is merely a matter of time until Facebook has betrayed the last shred of trust.

Re:This seems a little overblown (1)

GabriellaKat (748072) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660846)

In particular it seems that this service is monitoring publicly available posts and also flagging how many of them happen during work hours. Considering employers are likely within their rights to monitor when their networks are used to make private posts, this doesn't really seem so bad.

It might serve as a wake-up call to people who share too much publicly.

And what if you posted while on break / in bathroom from your smart phone? Yet another reason I "Just say NO" to social networks.

Re:This seems a little overblown (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660946)

"Trust" - an ancient word meaning whale's vagina apparently.

Re:This seems a little overblown (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661038)

In particular it seems that this service is monitoring publicly available posts and also flagging how many of them happen during work hours. Considering employers are likely within their rights to monitor when their networks are used to make private posts, this doesn't really seem so bad

I know! I think the most ridiculous idea is that people are PAYING for this software! You get your IT guys to put some Open Source Linux variant on their routers that keep track of internet usage - and compare it with an IP-Table for those well known sites - and you'll know who is on Facebook when. If your company is larger than 10 people you probably have an "IT Department" and they should know how to handle all of that.

Re:This seems a little overblown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661110)

Meanwhile, other employers are (or were?) demanding facebook passwords [pcworld.com] to more easily monitor job applicants

Re: This seems a little overblown (1)

Yankel (770174) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661238)

The biggest joke are the businesses where social networking can actually increase awareness and sales through fan pages, promotion and additional information, yet "head office" blocks access.

How to save $2 to $8 dollars per employee (1)

funchords (937529) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660516)

Don't abuse your employees and "friend" them for free.

Re:How to save $2 to $8 dollars per employee (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660660)

Umm keystroke logger on all computers. There fixed that for you.

Re:How to save $2 to $8 dollars per employee (1)

gabereiser (1662967) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660782)

dude, that's hilarious and sooo true. Problem is, most companies that want to monitor facebook etc for private posts are also not utilizing it's corporate pages to build a following. Like at my work. OpenDNS block, which is ok by me, but what about the potential for all those customers? All 430 million of them. Seems like a step backward.

Re:How to save $2 to $8 dollars per employee (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660810)

Works for me. My boss is my FB friend. He doesn't use it much, but I'm happy for anyone in the world to see anything I put anywhere. If I were to get in trouble for something I say online then it would only show that my employer is not someone I would want to continue working for.

And it's happened in the past. I once got blowback on an internal developer discussion list for saying something that should have been completely benign. I said that I very much liked a technology that the company was using, and I later got in trouble from an upper manager who was part of a faction that didn't like that technology and was looking to replace it. From that point on, I lost all respect for the upper management at that place. (And that was far from the only reason.) Management would read the list, but not participate, but when someone said something impolitic, there would be trouble. This was, in my opinion, the very definitions
of arrogance and cowardice. Needless to say, upper management at this place was like dealing with autistic toddlers (and I've had a little experience with that).

I can beat that price. (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660520)

For only $1 to 7$ per seat I shall give you a 'web browser'.

Jeebus - just block facebook, it's not that hard. (1)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660522)

If there is a work-related reason an employee needs to have access to facebook, I have yet to hear it. Just don't allow people to visit the godforsaken vector on company resources. Problem solved.

 

Re:Jeebus - just block facebook, it's not that har (4, Insightful)

dancingmilk (1005461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660548)

Communications manager who uses Facebook for the company's Facebook group.

There's a reason for you. One of many in my place of work. Facebook access is blocked for the average drone, but there are a few folks that have reasons to use it for work purposes.

Re:Jeebus - just block facebook, it's not that har (1)

wsanders (114993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660678)

Allow access, then any employee who posts "my company sucks" to their own company's facebook or twitter page automatically gets fired, not for squaundering $0.000005 of the company's valuable resources, but for being a dumbass.

If you insist on blocking, I should be able to contract out my finely-tuned dumbass-detection skills to you for big bucks. Profit! And zero false positives, for the most part.

Re:Jeebus - just block facebook, it's not that har (1)

dancingmilk (1005461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660940)

Its not what people post on FB that causes my company issues. Frankly they could care less. Its more about how much time the average worker is willing to waste sitting on Facebook doing 0 work. Probably quite similar to how I'm spending my time now, but at least /. can be a learning experience about 0.05% of the time (Once in a blue moon there is a good Ask Slashdot post). I don't think anyone learned anything of value from playing Farmville all day.

Re:Jeebus - just block facebook, it's not that har (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661156)

Maybe you should hire adults then, and not people who can't get their work done because they get easily distracted by shiny things.

Re:Jeebus - just block facebook, it's not that har (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661272)

Or maybe he should RTFA. Sure, it mentioned monitoring usage during work hours (you don't need some new shiteware to do that anyway), but it goes several double-decker buses further than that.

Re:Jeebus - just block facebook, it's not that har (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31660574)

This isn't about monitoring people facebooking at work, it's about monitoring facebook profiles around the clock to check up on your employees' personal lives and rants.

Re:Jeebus - just block facebook, it's not that har (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660586)

Easy answer: Drunken sales people.

Re:Jeebus - just block facebook, it's not that har (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661080)

If there is a work-related reason an employee needs to have access to facebook, I have yet to hear it.

I work for Facebook, you insensitive clod!

Re:Jeebus - just block facebook, it's not that har (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661108)

Way to miss the point. This is companies spying on people on their own time, out of the office.

But by your name you're probably a packy, who just says "oh yes jolly well kind sir" to anything management say.

HEY GUISE, I HAVE AN APP FOR MONITORING FACEOOK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31660528)

It's called FIREFOX. $3 per employee.

FTFA (2, Interesting)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660544)

"Social Sentry draws only on publicly posted information on Facebook and Twitter;"

Talk about a cash cow. Trolling public information that may or may not be your employee is risky (duplicate names). Perhaps this will remind folks that use social networks to set their security settings up is a good thing.

Re:FTFA (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660656)

I'm not sure how that would work, but finding the right person seems tricky.

I'm the #1 hit for my name on google, yet when searching with site:facebook.com i'm not on the first few pages. Even attaching various cities i've lived in doesn't make that any better. I'm not even sure how they'd do that, short of requiring the employer to provide a list of pages to monitor.

Re:FTFA (1)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661028)

Phew, my 1994-era usenet postings to alt.pave.the.earth and redhaired.reds.both.in.and.under.the.bed will remain safe.

I would like to know (2, Interesting)

tist (1086039) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660614)

As an employer, I would be quite happy to know how much time is being wasted by employees on social networking sites. Of course keeping up with current events (Suff that matters) would not be included. The comments my employees make are public and I have the same right to see them as anyone. In addition, the time and resources they spend on personal items while getting paid by me is no less than stealing.

Re:I would like to know (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31660744)

Hire better people. If you have to be concerned about this you need 1) a good web filter or 2) a new job because you can't manage.

Re:I would like to know (2, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661016)

the time and resources they spend on personal items while getting paid by me is no less than stealing

If they're assembly-line workers, then probably yes. If they fall in the "knowledge" category, then I disagree in principle. To expect a human to mentally function at top efficiency without breaks and diversions is not reasonable. So, if you are the kind of employer who has hourly-wage employees with scheduled breaks, then you have a right to complain if your workers are slacking off on the clock. If not, then I think you are shooting yourself in the foot with a policy that equates employees taking a necessary 10-minute break every 2 hours with "stealing."

Obviously, if their personal activities are interfering with their productivity then that is another matter. I think you should evaluate your employees on productivity and overall quality of work, not on whether they keep their noses to the grindstone all day, every day.

Re:I would like to know (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661042)

>the time and resources they spend on personal items while getting paid by me is no less than stealing.

On the other hand, you like to steal your employees' time by not paying them overtime?

Reacting harshly? (2)

fprefect (14608) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660624)

"There is a tendency to react to an off-color joke or complaint that appears online more harshly than to the same comment made in a cafeteria or company picnic"

Of course, because such as comment isn't a one-off thing in close company, but posted for everyone to see until it is removed -- rather like a sign hung from the break-room bulletin board.

RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31660628)

From the comments at the New York Times site it's clear many people there failed to Read The Fine Article. Why should Slashdot readers do any better?

Seriously now... (1)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660630)

Set up Facebook privacy so only friends can see your stuff. Crisis averted.

Re:Seriously now... (2, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661052)

Even better, set your defaults so only a particular group can see what you put on your wall and other things. Then add all your friends (true friends) to that group. This way, if you add someone to friends as a diplomatic move (some workplaces require being added to friends/followers as a condition of employment), by default they do not see your posts. Same with organization fan pages that one joins.

Re:Seriously now... (2, Interesting)

DeanFox (729620) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661118)


If requested MySpace/Facebook will grant employers with invisible type "friend" status to any of their employee's account. Employers can monitor their employees page without the user giving individual consent (general consent was given when accepting the user agreements) or knowing they have been friended by their employer. This is not a protection by itself. It could be for this particular service as they claim it only covers "public" information but it isn't if the employer asks directly.

Re:Seriously now... (1)

c_sd_m (995261) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661302)

Until Facebook changes the privacy policy next week.

'Learning" Social Networking (4, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660636)

Prior to Facebook, social networking sites were pretty much utilized only by the "geeks" of society. Now, with Facebook, everyone and their mom and their grandma has a page. With this flood of people unaccustomed to "life on the internet", people are learning how to conduct themselves on social networking sites all over again. Not only are the non-geeks learning how all this techno-babble works - geeks are also learning how the new social networking environment works. For example, prior to Facebook, on other sites (LiveJournal, for example), my contacts understood that what I said there was to remain there. They were virtual conversations with my friends. Now, however, I'm realizing that the people I have on Facebook do not have that innate understanding of "how it works." Things I say on Facebook, just as a venue to vent, become an issue. I'm being forced to re-evaluate how a social networking site "works" because of all the people who are now using it who just don't understand how it _should_ work.

All of this is to say that it's a very dangerous time to be active on a social networking site. _YOU_ may understand how it all works. Your _FRIENDS_ may understand that you're just venting about a shitty day at work or whatever. Can you be certain your MOM or your BOSS similarly understands these things?...

Re:'Learning" Social Networking (2, Interesting)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660900)

Social media has a nasty learning curve when it comes to the workplace. This has always been the case in any forum where your electronic musings are available to anyone who cares to look, or even in areas where having some jerk forward a message to the wrong person.

I remember back when I was an intern at SGI, there was a big hullabaloo over the "bad attitude" newsgroup -- this was a newsgroup set up with the idea that people who had a forum to bitch about the company would be overall happier workers. In concept it was a pretty good idea. In practice, it even worked out fairly well; it created a community where people could actually get things fixed or at least have others tell them that the little issue they were overfocused on weren't such a big deal.

Of course, the regular users were people who didn't think what would happen once the bottom-feeding lawyers got ahold of it (as they did when Microsoft subpoena'ed Netscape's offshoot of BA) and then the predictable reactions of the HR drones (HR people being, by definition, the bottom 1% of humanity -- right below baby rapists). Management invented all sorts of reasons to go ahead and fire the more active participants despite the fact that the forum had been more or less sanctioned by the company in the first place.

Of course, that being SGI around 1999/2000, the people who got canned over BA were just a few months ahead of most of the rest of the company, but you take my meaning.

So if there's any difference between us and them, it's that more of us have seen how this works by now..

read the writing on the wall (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661066)

Of course, that being SGI around 1999/2000, the people who got canned over BA were just a few months ahead of most of the rest of the company, but you take my meaning.

So the inference we should draw is that any company that squanders effort on such misguided snooping is mere months away from going down the crapper? Good to know, good to know...

Re:read the writing on the wall (1)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661146)

In SGI's case, I'd say it's more like "Any company that realizes they can't sell $10k IRIX workstations anymore and decides to base their new business strategy on the moronic idea that they can sell $10k WinNT workstations instead is mere months from going down the crapper".

Any company over a certain size will contain the useless sorts of twits who have nothing better to do then spend their time concentrating on what employees are posting on the internet -- it's a function of CYA mixed with boredom, stupidity and a touch of basic loserdom that is extremely common in the ranks of HR and middle management. You're not safe anywhere.

Re:'Learning" Social Networking (1)

linuxgurugamer (917289) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660932)

You have a skewed idea of how things are "supposed" to work. In _your_ mind, it may be supposed to work one way. But the whole idea of "social networking" is that it is PUBLIC. It is supposed to work however each user uses it. This also includes REPEATING what is read on one site on other sites.

I'm sorry if it doesn't work the way _you_ intended to use it.

Simple to avoid (1)

alphax45 (675119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660680)

1. Private profile - the security/privacy settings are there for a reason 2. Don't friend boss/manager - why would you ever do this? It could only lead to bad things 3. Don't use work equipment to access social networks - if they are not already blocked

Re:Simple to avoid (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660734)

Or use a RDP/VON to remote login to your home machine and go from there.

Re:Simple to avoid (1)

bdenton42 (1313735) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660836)

4. Just don't post stuff that your boss or mother would be offended by.

Re:Simple to avoid (2, Funny)

alphax45 (675119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661014)

But that's no fun ;)

Re:Simple to avoid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661184)

Just - put your boss to a blacklist for specific content - like photo albums and tags if you share photos of having "fun" with his wife. The rest of the company will still get something to laugh at.

Perhaps they'll release their customer list (2, Funny)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660702)

If we know which companies subscribe to the service, we have new additions to the list of companies to avoid working for.

Gentlemen, Start Your Lawyers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31660738)

What could possibly go wrong?

Smart Employers (3, Insightful)

tpstigers (1075021) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660800)

Smart employers don't give a crap whether their employees go to Facebook or MySpace or whatever, so long as the work gets done. Nitpicking over every minute is an idiot's response to an unproductive workplace.

Re:Smart Employers (3, Insightful)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660904)

You must be new to the workforce.

My question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31660806)

In cases like Facebook and Myspace, I am not sure what good these services would be. Think about it, these services can only monitor information that is either open for everyone, or if you are a friend. So, by simply making all your info for friends only, it sort of negates anything software like this can do... unless I am missing something?

My action step moving forward: turn off all public info and make private. *Note to self: don't accept friend requests to automated monitoring services*

End of story. Nothing to see here, move along...

Re:My question (1)

ajdowntown (91738) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660850)

For some reason, I was logged out of /. So, now a repost and not an AC. Sorry :-/ ----- In cases like Facebook and Myspace, I am not sure what good these services would be. Think about it, these services can only monitor information that is either open for everyone, or if you are a friend. So, by simply making all your info for friends only, it sort of negates anything software like this can do... unless I am missing something? My action step moving forward: turn off all public info and make private. *Note to self: don't accept friend requests to automated monitoring services* End of story. Nothing to see here, move along...

Thought Control? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31660862)

I read the article (yes, I know.....)

Anyone using a social site in working hours deserves what they get, even if they access it during their lunch. However, colour me paranoid, but the drift I got was that the software was intended to monitor "employees" activities whenever, to ensure that they toed the company line whenever the company was mentioned, and to monitor their social behaviour and political opinions.

We have the old "In Soviet Russia" jokes, but its time for a new meme.

In Corporate America, company owns YOU!

 

Hurray! (2, Insightful)

stovicek (1768794) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660866)

Nothing being said about monitoring slashdot!

so only allow friends access, and be selective (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660908)

you know, just like unix... very user friendly, but particular about its friends.

iPhone FTW (1)

drumcat (1659893) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660920)

This only means that what everyone else is doing got to NYT -- people are using their work computers for work, and their iPhones for stuff they don't want monitored. The software will only shift devices, not time spent.

Corporate citizens (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660926)

Sorry but by monitoring my face book account (I personally don't have any social site accounts) while I'm off work hours is nothing more the stalking me which last time I checked is against the law. Whats next you gonna pay someone to watch what I do in public off work hours to see if it violates your companies rules or your own beliefs? Now if its on work hours and your wasting a time on face boom then you got no one but yourself to blame for the consequences.

During work hours (1)

Watertowers (1061714) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660952)

A person should not be able to be fired for what they say in their own time, unless the comments are un-true and they are causing a loss to the company due to their online comments, this is where the company could have a case for defamation, or the person is leaking company secrets which is just plain wrong. People need to be careful what they say on-line and only say something if they have evidence/support to back up their comments. If you put something in the public space, it is open slather, and if a company wants to bother monitoring public commentry it is their choice. It is a waste of resources in my opinion. People are plain stupid if they are using social networking during work hours on a work pc, unless it is in their job description.

Re:During work hours (1)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661206)

How things *should* work and how they *do* work are often, if not most times, drastically different from each other. This is pretty simple "Life 101" stuff here.

Account as Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661010)

register as anonymous coward, and cowardly say shit about them

If your profile is public... (1)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661018)

If your profile is public you deserve what you get.

If the software includes falsifying information to 'friend' an employee, that should be a violation of Facebook's terms of use.

This is not just happening INSIDE the workplace (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661076)

This is not just happening in the workplace. Some employers are actively watching their employee's social networking pages when they are outside the work environment!

My girlfriend was recently given a series of "guidelines" in which was outlined, procedures for proper social network use. Amongst those outlined, the guidelines state she cannot speak negatively of her employer, and may not even speak of public information such as stock price of the company. It also goes so far as to say she cannot make politically or religiously opinionated posts, and she may not post such content anonymously,

At the end of this document composed of "guidelines" (their term) is a signature and date field, followed by the threat of termination of these guidelines are not followed. Guidelines my ass, it's a contract to limit her free speech outside the work place.

We're at a lost as to what to do. Thus far she's refused to sign the document, and has attempted to contact the ACLU and several other organizations. Nothing yet so far.

Re:This is not just happening INSIDE the workplace (2)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661202)

Wouldn't firing someone for a religiously-themed comment run the company into all sorts of problems? Let alone shutting down their expression in that arena. What if you belong to a church that believes in evangelism? You are essentially firing someone for their beliefs, not just expressing them.

What you've described is highly problematic.

Would you really want to fire someone for a political opinion on their own time?

What about commenting on slashdot? (1)

abhishekupadhya (1228010) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661098)

Is that still ok?

tunnel (1)

hey (83763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661178)

Use your laptop at work and an ssh tunnel to your home sever. Then browse the net.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>