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