Social networks and responsible action

We recently discovered a Facebook profile impersonating a staff member on campus. We contacted Facebook, who immediately pulled the profile — the speed of their response was impressive. However, Facebook would not offer any help to identify the individual responsible, apparently an effort to protect the privacy of their users. Imagine the difficulty if they attempted to distinguish between legitimate and fraudulent requests for personal information about other users! At the same time, it’s easy to write sarcastically about Facebook’s intentions, given the liberty with which they share users’ personal information with Google and advertisers.

To find the person responsible, we decided to appeal to a feature of our school that we believe is strong — students taking responsibility for their actions — but it didn’t work. We wrote to a number of students connected to the fake profile, asking them to do the right thing and help the person who impersonated the staff member to come forward and explain himself. No one came forward. This could be for any number of reasons, but for the moment, I’m just disappointed that the school community did not live up to its ideals. Thankfully, I can point to a dozen examples of students acting with great responsibility and care. I just wish that it had happened this time, too.

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