When Facebook becomes Facetrap

When Facebook becomes Facetrap

Summary: You have to wonder about some people. Take Julie Tyler, 27, of Dunedin.


You have to wonder about some people. Take Julie Tyler, 27, of Dunedin.

Tyler currently works for Burger King and decided to slag off her employer on Facebook.

"Real jobs don't underpay and overwork like BK does," she said on a friend's Facebook page.

Apparently, her comments were posted on a "private" section of Facebook, not open to all, but a colleague reported them to management.

Tyler faced the sack, but following union involvement, she received a final written warning, which the union still plans to appeal against.

Burger King sees the matter as Tyler bringing the company into disrepute, but for the union it is a matter of free speech, likening her comments to pub chatter with friends.

Tyler is probably right in her comments about fast food work, but if you publicly abuse your employer, it is inevitable they will lose faith and trust in you. And the trouble with online comments is that they are permanent, accessible and "public" for others to see.

Not only do many businesses use Facebook themselves, they may also monitor the Facebook use of their staff, and they can also use tracking software to monitor what is said about them on social media and other sites.

Indeed, media experts have long warned that a posting on Facebook or other social-networking site is like putting something on a public notice board. And this applies to us all, not just the famous.

This month, for example, radical Maori Party MP Hone Harawira was disciplined by his party for calling his colleagues "dickheads" on Facebook, amid other misdemeanours.

It certainly seems that it's time to be more careful about what we say online, with some companies having more draconian policies than others. Commonwealth Bank, for example, is reportedly considering changes to its social media policy after it was discovered that employees could be fired for talking about the company on the site.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Banking, IT Employment

Darren Greenwood

About Darren Greenwood

Darren Greenwood has been in journalism, not all of it IT, since the days of typewriters and long before the web spun its way around the world.

Coming from Yorkshire, he can be blunt, and though having resided in New Zealand, as well as Australia, for quite some time, he insists he is not one of the 'sheeple!'

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  • It's a stupid idea to badmouth anyone (whether it's a person or company) on Facebook.

    I don't like my job (studied for years in IT, and ended up in a warehouse and seem to be stuck there now), and my employers know that, and I do talk about that on Facebook. But it is the position I am in that I hate, not the company and certainly not the people (well, most of them).
  • From the article above: "Apparently, her comments were posted on a "private" section of Facebook, not open to all, but a colleague reported them to management."
    So we are not safe even when the information is posted in a PRIVATE section? Surely the dobber is the one at fault here for relaying what the employee said, in private, to Management? I trust they were severly dealt with? I mean, if they would share THAT secret, what about company confidential information?
    This is not the same as posting it on a notice board. It was PRIVATE and so should be treated with the respect PRIVATE deserves. The company should have asked she take the comments down and not share them out. Or better, ignored the dobber completely. What she (or anyone) says in PRIVATE should remain confidential.
    This company is playing Big Brother with private information.