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Things on Facebook that Get You in Trouble With the Boss

By Edited Sep 7, 2016 2 13

Facebook quickly emerged as hottest thing in online social networking since MySpace.  It was the year 2009 saw Facebook become the #1 popular social networking website and, as statistics seem to suggest, Facebook has continued to remain popular.

In July 2010 the social network giant had amassed a whopping 500 million members which was amazing at the time. Fast forward to today and there are more a billion people who have joined the network - the company boasted 1.59 billion monthly active members at the end of December 2015.

There was a big difference between MySpace and Facebook though. With MySpace many people used chat names or nicknames, people could be totally anonymous. On the other hand, Facebook wants people to use their real names. Its business model is built upon people finding classmates, old friends, colleagues, family members or other connections.

Due to the foundation Facebook has established, the majority of members use their real name and, as a result, personal and professional lives have clashed. Many people can successfully balance their online and offline lives, but for some people, it has lead to serious problems in their careers; for others it has gotten them fired.

You're Fired
Credit: Sean MacEntee/Flickr CC by 2.0

Here are some top ways the details posted on Facebook can get people in big trouble with the boss:

Inappropriate Photos

If you go out during off work hours and act in a way that is not becoming to you and the pictures are posted by yourself or others, and your boss gets wind of it, you can get fired. While some people are very careful what they post, others impulsively post things they might regret later. Unfortunately, by then its too late.

People may argue that what a person does on their own time is their personal business, and this is true, however the reality of it is, a company is going to want to staff employees that reflect well on the business. If an employer gets wind of negatively perceived photos, it probably won't sit well.

Additionally, if any photos can be viewed as inappropriate, but eye catching enough to garner attention, the Internet is a fast moving highway and you never know what might get circulated through Facebook, and then spread to email, YouTube or other distribution.

If this occurs, it is likely something the boss won't take lightly.

Share Company Secrets

Are you proud of the big deal you have negotiated and are about to seal the deal at your job? Are you privy to sensitive, confidential or proprietary information? If so, be sure to not talk about these types of topics on your Facebook page. Even if you do not say it directly, even off the cuff comments such as commenting on a deal being called off so you get the day off work can get you into trouble if the news hasn't been released by the company. 2

Not only could you get fired, but you may be subjected to legal proceedings if you happen to breach proprietary information or violate any other types of work policies relating to confidentiality.

Sharing confidential information on social media
Credit: Geralt/Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Sharing a post that contains proprietary or otherwise confidential information can theoretically be broadcast across the globe. Always a bad idea.

Call in Sick and Brag About it on your Page

If you call in sick and take a day at the beach, spa, or even to stay home and play video games, really any other activity that has nothing to do with resting in bed, don't post about it on your Facebook page. Someone connected to you directly or via another friend or contact is bound to see it. Faking illness is not typically viewed as a good work ethic and this may be grounds for you to be fired if your boss gets wind of what you're up to. Or you'll at least be viewed negatively and if layoffs come around, you could be on that list of the first people to go. 

Talk About Your Boss or Colleagues

When people have a frustrating day at work, it is understandable to feel as if you want to vent about it, but Facebook is probably the wrong venue to do this because anything you say is pretty much public information. Bashing your boss or other colleagues in public is not going to sit well with your employer, not to mention it is unprofessional. Something else to think about is, even if people from your workplace don't see it, it'll look bad down the road if you are job searching and a potential employer sees it. And, according to hiring trends in recent years, employers are indeed searching.

Even if you have privacy settings on, you never know who is in the online circles of your boss and/or colleagues. Plus glitches can happen on occasion too, exposing your posts. A bug even affected Mark Zuckerberg back in 2011, sharing photos that he intended to be private. 3

Overall, it's just good practice to avoid talking about work-related problems online.

Down with Facebook?
Credit: Hermann/Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

What Others Post

Even if you are careful about what you say and do on Facebook, others may not be so cautious. This could be your colleagues, friends or family. If you live in a close-knit community where people all know and/or work in the same circles, what other people post can negatively impact your job if they decide to talk about things you have said or done.

Facebook can be fun, relaxing and a way to unwind, however these days you have to be careful what you say on social networking websites such as Facebook because your actions can get you in deep trouble with the boss. The Internet is public space, and even if you do use privacy settings or other kinds of ways to control information, the best way to protect your career is not to say or do anything on Facebook that would reflect negatively on you.

If your actions on Facebook are deemed inappropriate and/or unprofessional by your employer, you might even find yourself fired. Even if there aren't legal grounds for firing, once employers make up their mind to let someone go, they'll find another excuse to do it.

The bottom line is everything posted on Facebook is public information and will be seen. While you may not want your boss to see what you've posted, don't assume it won't happen because even if you take precautions as nothing is every 100 percent infallible.

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Comments

Feb 6, 2016 6:49am
mommymommymommy
For me, Facebook is only about posting good things about my family and promoting events at the preschool, religious school and synagogue. My bosses and my parents are my "friends" so anything that can be perceived as negative cannot be posted. A few years ago, one teacher did write a comment that a parent deemed inappropriate (it was not IMHO), and she got in trouble. She never posts anything anymore.
Feb 7, 2016 4:26am
LeighGoessl
Thanks mommyx3 for sharing your thoughts. Social media is a tricky balance when it comes to careers in general, but probably more so for teachers. (From the stories I've seen online, there seems to be a lot of scrutiny).


Feb 6, 2016 10:15pm
Browna86
My main go to for Facebook are the games. After the games comes getting updates from work followed by networking ops. Guild updates use to be second but after some game changes we disbanded; but still keep in touch.

Home page is pretty much filled with stuff relating to adorable animals, food, fashions, surprise notices (like FB friends wishing me a happy BDay) and friendly reminders about helping teachers lighten the load for the current school year.

Despite the numerous appearance of the topic there is always something new being posted that the seemingly intelligent haven't caught on to; for whatever reason. An amazing piece that needs to be turned into a poster as a friendly reminder of what not to do while on FB. Awesome work.
Feb 7, 2016 4:32am
LeighGoessl
Thanks Browna86 for reading and commenting. I originally wrote this a long time ago (Helium), but decided to update it after a family member was telling me about this man's Facebook page (friend of a friend of a friend type of thing). I was absolutely stunned at the posts he was writing and leaving open for the world to see.
Feb 12, 2016 2:05am
alenaedwin
Facebook is good website for promoting business and deliver product to the right customer. Our company facebook page provide us good customers who are interested to buy our products.
Feb 12, 2016 6:26am
LeighGoessl
Thanks for reading. Welcome to IB
Feb 22, 2016 5:41pm
jandeesmith
Facebook is a great place to share memorable events in life, random things about the day, but it was never a good place to vent your anger to someone... It's very unethical.
Feb 23, 2016 11:59am
LeighGoessl
Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
I think sometimes people forget how public it really is, even when privacy settings are used. It's become the natural place for conversations.

Mar 19, 2016 9:55pm
MDCSB
Anytime, I also did some sharing. This is a great article.
Mar 19, 2016 9:54pm
MDCSB
I wish more people knew this. This is great information. Thank You for sharing.
Mar 20, 2016 2:51am
LeighGoessl
Thanks very much. Also appreciate your reading and sharing too.
Welcome to IB!
Mar 25, 2016 8:34am
hubber8893
Petty good points, specially the one sharing defamatory posts about the boss with public.
Mar 28, 2016 2:51am
LeighGoessl
Thanks so much for reading and commenting hubber8893
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Bibliography

  1. "Stats." Facebook. 6/02/2016 <Web >
  2. Laura Friedel "Social media poses grave danger to companies’ confidential information ." Inside Counsel. 08/05/2014. 6/02/2016 <Web >
  3. "Facebook Bug Revealed Mark Zuckerberg's Private Photos." Mashable. 6/12/2011. 6/02/2016 <Web >

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