Law Enforcement Facebook Privacy Guide
Examples Negative Career Implications Due to Facebook -‐ Facebook and social networking activity of law enforcement officers has negatively impacted the careers and reputations of several officers throughout the country. Here are just a few examples:
December 2009- Sandy Spring, Georgia
Officer was fired after he posted specific information about a raid that the police would be executing.
September 2010- South Carolina
A police officer was fired after a photo surfaced on Facebook of scantily-clad women posing on the hood of his town police cruiser.
September 2010- Shannon Hills, Arkansas
Officer was terminated after he posted information jeopardizing a DUI checkpoint, information which violated the Shannon Hills department’s code of ethics.
An officer's credibility on the stand was attacked by the defense using a status update from his Facebook page. The defense attorney used this information to paint the officer as over-zealous. The defense attorney later stated that the officer was "motivated to cover up his use of excessive force" and that the Facebook comments support that.
Sharing on Facebook -‐ When you create a Facebook account, it is important that you change your security and privacy settings. By default, Facebook will share as much as your information with the public as possible.
Certain information about your profile is automatically made public to everyone because it makes it easier for people (i.e. old high school or college classmates) to connect with you. After all, the biggest feature of a social networking site is being able to reach out to others.
Recommended Privacy Settings -‐ Unless you change your privacy settings, you will expose your personal information to people that you may not want to have it (i.e. people you have arrested, the media, and any other members of the public)
By default, when you create an account, unless you change your privacy settings, Facebook will automatically follow the “Recommended Privacy Settings”
As you can see from the “Recommended Privacy Settings,” information including status moods, photographs, wall posts, family, and relationship status are automatically available to everyone unless changed.