People continue to do not-so-smart things on Facebook and other social media. Here’s the latest …

Facebook Fakery Found False

A high school principal in Clayton, Missouri allegedly set up a fake Facebook account under the name “Suzy Harriston” to help her spy on students. “Suzy” said she was from Clayton, put up a profile picture featuring a bunch of penguins and started posting status updates and doing other seemingly normal Facebook-ish things.

Suzy quickly attracted more than 300 Facebook “friends,” many of them students. Everything seemed fine.

But then one day a former Clayton High School quarterback posted a rather bold accusation: “Whoever is friends with Suzy Harriston on Facebook needs to drop them. It is the Clayton Principal.”

Suzy immediately disappeared from Facebook. The next day, the school announced that the principal was taking a leave of absence.

It all came to a head last Friday when the school board held a closed session meeting to discuss the issue. Shortly thereafter, the principal resigned. The school said nothing other than a brief statement that it and the principal had a “fundamental dispute concerning the appropriate use of social media.”

Truthfulness and Trust Trump Trickery

It’s never ever a good idea for employers, bosses or anyone else in authority to “spy” or use other subterfuge in the social media (SM) universe. Here are some basic SM rules to help you stay out of trouble:

  • Every employer should have a policy that makes it clear what is — and isn’t — OK in the SM world. Here’s our handy SM starter kit, including several sample SM policies and other best practices.
  • Few employers know that the following are potentially unlawful: (1) obtaining employee SM passwords using any form of deception and/or theft, (2) intercepting employee communications while they’re being made and (3) failing to disclose that a blogger hawking your products or services is actually paid by you.
  • One question that continues to keep popping up in this context is: Should employers demand Facebook passwords as part of the hiring process? My answer: NO. Here’s why.

The bottom line is that using ANY form of deception in the workplace is never a good idea. Be truthful and trustworthy at all times or you just might face termination.