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  • 1. Facebook & MySpace Understanding the Issues
  • 2. What is Facebook & MySpace?
    • Social networking websites providing interactive:
      • Blogs
      • User profiles
      • Groups
      • Photos
      • Internal email capability
  • 3. MySpace
    • Started as a home to various bands trying to attract attention. Now many celebrities and musicians have pages.
    • Purchased by Rupert Murdoch for $580 million.
    • Anyone over 14 may register for an account.
    • You do not need an account to browse profiles.
  • 4. MySpace – What is the big deal?
    • MySpace has 95 million registered users. 500,000 new members are registering each day. 78% are over 18 years of age.
    • MySpace is the world’s 4 th most popular English language website and the 8 th most popular in the world.
  • 5. Facebook
    • Founded by three Harvard students in 2004 as a replacement for the traditional “facebook.”
    • Initially, facebook required an .edu email address. Recently, it expanded to other organizations.
  • 6. Facebook
    • Users can create profiles and upload pictures.
    • Users can search for “friends” by favorite music, residence, high school, etc.
    • Users can create groups for others to join.
    • Requires an account to access.
  • 7. Facebook – What’s the big deal?
    • Facebook is the 7 th most visited site on the internet.
    • Approximately 85% of students at supported colleges have accounts.
    • 60% of students log onto their account daily.
  • 8.  
  • 9.  
  • 10.  
  • 11.  
  • 12. The Bad . . .
  • 13. The Bad . . .
  • 14. The Bad . . .
  • 15. What can we do?
    • First Amendment Issues
      • Three cases form the basis of review when evaluating student speech.
      • There is no direct law involving facebook & myspace, but these cases have been used to evaluate personal websites.
  • 16. What can we do?
    • Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District
      • Schools may regulate speech:
        • When the speech “materially & substantially interferes with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school.”
          • “unqualified fear of disruption” does not meet the material interference standard.
  • 17. What can we do?
    • Tinker con’d:
      • May regulate speech that interferes with “the rights of other students to be secure and left alone.”
    • Bethel School District v. Fraser:
      • Schools may prohibit offensive language that undermines the “basic educational mission” of the school at school events.
  • 18. What can we do?
    • Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeir:
      • Schools may regulate student sponsored publications as long as the regulations relate to “legitimate pedagogical concerns.”
    • Problems with Tinker, Bethel, & Hazelwood.
  • 19. What can we do?
    • J.S. v. Bethlehem Area School District
      • Court found that school district has not violated student’s 1 st Amendment rights when they expelled him for creating a website called “Teacher Sux.” The website contained threats against the teacher, a picture of the teacher with “her head cut off, blood dripping from her neck, and her face morphing into Hitler’s face.”
  • 20. What can we do?
    • Evaluate content of site
    • Use issues as a “teachable moment.”
  • 21. What should we do?
    • Do we have a duty to review Facebook/MySpace accounts?
    • What if we want to review Facebook/MySpace accounts?
    • Do we need to inform students that we may view their account?
  • 22. Questions/Comments
    • Angi Smith
    • Director, Office of Student Judicial Affairs
    • University of Tennessee
    • 409 Student Services Building
    • Knoxville, TN 37996
    • 865.974.3171
    • [email_address]
  • 23. Disclaimer: This presentation is informational only and is not meant to serve as legal advice. Please contact your General Counsel or Attorney for legal advice.