“In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all my personal details, illustrations…..” I’m sure everyone has had at least one, if not a cluster of friends posting this as their Facebook status either recently, or this past June when this viral message first surfaced. Needless to say (at least it should be needless), this is a hoax. There is no way to change a privacy contract one agreed upon in signing up for Facebook by simply posting a status. Even one filled with as much “legal jargon”, as this fake status. Especially when this is the same method you used to post a status last week to say something like “OMG didn’t fail my test, things are looking up ”. So why then, are so many people quickly pulled into believing this would work?

As an article in the Washington Post claims, “hoaxes are hard things to put down — particularly when they seem to offer something that people want.” People on Facebook want control over their posts, and want to ensure their privacy. However there are only two existing solutions for how to do that, and neither involve a status update. You can post with extreme caution and frivolity, taking care to check the applied privacy settings to everything you post; or you can delete your Facebook. While this viral update is not actually a virus, and will not do any harm to your computer, it does raise a greater question about privacy; a question that Facebook users are right to worry about. This question is something along the lines of, “Should we be worried about what an outside source can find about us on the internet?”

This is extremely relevant to college students as we begin seriously looking at internships and full time jobs to launch us into the real world. Employers can scour the internet searching for pictures, statuses, and even tweets that could easily make us seem like less desirable candidates for employment. However, Facebook also has numerous benefits, and has become a large part of the way we connect to friends. Is the risk worth it?

How concerned are you about your internet presence in regards to future employment? What steps have you taken to ensure your privacy? Is Facebook worth the risk it may post to future employment?

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