The Real World Consequences of
Facebook and MySpace
Security On Campus, Inc,
Virginia Commonwealth University
student Taylor Behl was
murdered her freshman year by
someone she met at
Mesloh, Dr. Charles, Campus Safety Magazine, Virtual Fun with
Consequences, January 2006
History of MySpace
• Social Networking website offering interactive
network of photos, blogs, user profiles, groups and e-
• Founded in 2003 by Tom Anderson (alumnus UC
Berkley and UCLA)
• January 2006- reported to be the world’s 7th most
popular English language *.
• Culture: unique, alternative scene, young adults (18-
*Alexa Internet, Alexa Web search, January 20, 2006
Elements of MySpace
• Part diary
• Part photo album
• Pet peeves
Status: Single, etc.
Here for: Meeting people
Hometown: Rhode Island
Body type: small frame
A student at the University of
Kansas learned the
consequences of revealing too
much information on Facebook
when she was stalked by a man
who encountered her class
Dutton, Chelsea.Kansan Newspaper, Users abuse Facebook,
February 10, 2005
History of Facebook
• Formerly known as “The Facebook” is a social
networking service specific to college and high school
• As of December 2005-Largest number of registered
users among college sites (6 million). *
• Founded in 2004- Four former Harvard students-
based on facebook distributed to incoming freshmen.
• Culture- have to have an .edu account, personal
profile, exchange public, private messages, join
groups of friends.
*Wikipedia, History of Facebook, 2005
Facebook Profile Page
Q ic kTime ™ a nd a
TIFF (L ZW) d ec ompres so r
are n eed ed to se e th is pi cture.
Security of Facebook and MySpace
• 13 yrs. or older
• Member conduct policy
• Must have an .edu address to join
• Have to “friend” someone to allow
them to see profile (but not at same
• Safety tips
• Claims no liability for inaccurate
• Can not be under 14
Dangers of On-line Networking
1.) Student Blogs- sometimes fabricated
2.) Stalking is made easy when students reveal too
much information on-line
3.) Identity theft
4.) Posting any incriminating evidence about yourself
• What the images and information students
post about themselves may tell us.
• Administrators access to blogs and reaction
to what he/she may see (suicide threats,
information about sexual assault, drugs,
• Meeting someone through the internet posts
a danger of not knowing if the information
posted about him/her is true or false.
•Giving too much information could make
students vulnerable to stalking. If you post
class schedules, telephone numbers,
•On Facebook, you have the option to not
‘friend’ someone but anyone at your
university could still view your complete
The Prevalence of Stalking on
• 13% of female college students have been the
victims of stalking.
• Stalking is more prevalent among younger women.
• College campuses provide the ideal environment for
• College campuses are relatively closed-in
communities, where daily “Sexual Victimization regular
*Statistics taken from Fisher, Cullen & Turner, 2000:routines and of College Women”
behaviors are easily monitored.
• 42.5% of stalkers are boyfriends or ex-boyfriends.
• 24.5% are classmates
• 10.3% are acquaintances.
• 3 in 10 women reported emotional or psychological
• In 15.3% of incidents, victims reported the stalker
threatened or attempted to harm them.
• In 10.3% of incidents, victims reported that the stalker
“forced or attempted sexual contact.”
*Fisher, Cullen & Turner, 2000: “Sexual Victimization of College Women”
• Wealth of personal information make these sites a target for
• Schedules make t easiest for a stalker to identify a student’s
• College campuses are a microcosm for stalking.
• Stalking rates on college campuses are higher.
• Stems from relationships and also younger people tend to be
targets of crime more often.
• Numbers are always inaccurate because only 60% of women
and 30% of men who are stalked actually report (FBI
• Victims will not report because they feel (98%) that officials will
not believe them (National Violence Against Women Prevention
• Victims believe that they are being abused seriously enough.
• Stalking is a “repetitive pattern of unwanted, harassing or
threatening behavior committed by one person against another.”
• Acts include telephone harassment, being followed, receiving
unwanted gifts or other similar forms of intrusive behavior.
• The most valuable tool in deterring a stalker is a journal.
• Document every incident.
• Photograph gifts and then send them back.
• Have on and off campus resources available for students.
• Be a catalyst for empowerment, not a rescuer
• Avoid being judgmental
• Too sympathetic- not helpful with reality of
• Too much information too fast, especially
• Expecting yourself to solve every problem.
• Being unresponsive or cold. Calm is good
but cold is not.
• Students have their own
websites connected to
• E-mail scams
• Purchases using stolen
credit cards on
• Cyber-crimes are highly
*The Greenville Daily News, 09/04/05, Associated Press “Identity Thieves Prey On College Students”
Posting Incriminating Evidence about
• Students are pictured drinking beer while underage.
• Drug use
• Sexual activity
• These pictures are available for future employers and
• Cross-referencing Facebook profiles with character-
• While social networking sites offer advanced security
protocols, they are rarely utilized.
Banning the use of these sites altogether is impossible
but programming related to awareness of the
dangers of these sites is imperative.
• Primary Prevention- school-wide programs for
freshman orientation, residence halls, computer
• Secondary Prevention- targeted group (students who
have misused the internet)
• Tertiary Prevention- focusing on individual students
on an as-needed basis.
• Policies encouraging safe use of
websites such as Facebook and
• Prevention Programming specific to
computer safety and stalking.
• Resources for local area.
•Select a gender-neutral
•Keep primary e-mail private
•Do not give out information
simply because it is
•Block or ignore unwanted
•Do not allow others to draw
you into conflict.
•Watch what you “say” on-
•Do not provide credit card
or banking information as
• Secret Service at University of Oklahoma-
• Student expelled at Fisher College for comments
about a campus police officer.
• Kansas State University- violation of school’s honor
• University of Kansas student stalked after posting her
• Murder of a VCU student by someone who she met
• University of Mississippi- three students violating
*Wikipedia.com, January 2005
*Kansan Newspaper, 12/27/2005
judicial code by creating a group related to desire to
*”When students open up too much,” Boston Globe, 9/26/2005
have sex with a university professor*
University #1 Policy
“Since we are aware of the growing use
of facebook.com among HC’s students
here and elsewhere, we feel it is
important to share some cautions and
concerns with its use.”
*Policies and Procedures Student Manual for Hastings College with permission
“First, you should be careful about how much
and what kind of identifying information you
post on Facebook.”
“Second, you should be aware that potential,
current and future employers can often
access information you place on Facebook.”
“Third, you should know that while
Facebook and similar directories are
hosted outside the HC server, violations
of college policy on Facebook (e.g.
harassing language, possible college
alcohol or drug policy violations, etc.)
are subject to investigations and
sanction via the HC computer use
policy, student code of conduct, and
other relevant college policies”
University #2 Policy
“Many members of our community are using
thefacebook or other social sites like it are providing
personal information which can the be accessed by
any user of that site.”
“Facebook and other social sites are not approved or
affiliated in any way with DP College, and DP College
recommends that students not participate in these
*DePauw University Campus Safety website, accessed 02/03/2006 approved by Chief of Public
“Facebook also gives you a link that you can provide to
anyone that links them directly to your profile. Be
extremely cautious as to whom you allow access to
“If you choose to participate, we recommend that you
use your university box as your address and avoid
putting your physical address on your profile.”