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Social media pitfalls for law schools

A number of the yellow flags raised over the White House’s extensive use of social media might also be relevant to law schools. Specifically, what duty of privacy must law schools respect when they, or their professors / staff befriend students?

Note that on Facebook law schools should set up “pages,” not “profiles,” so that students are “fans” rather than “friends” and therefore are shielded from sharing their private information with schools. However, professors are likely to have profiles, not pages. Of particular concern is that schools not inadvertently violate FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) by disclosing information about students through lax or careless privacy settings. What happens, for example, if a prof sets up a “group” for students in her Torts class, and students begin discussing class topics without realizing that the group is semi-visible to others?

For anyone interested in this topic and other issues related to social media amd law schools, please come to the dedicated workshop at the CALI Conference for Law School Computing.

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  1. Laura Bergus | May 5, 2009 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Indeed – once schools get over any initial fear of social media, it’s all too easy to push ahead without regard for privacy and security concerns (and then for such concerns to stop what would otherwise be positive use of social media in its tracks). Thanks to Berkman’s support of the CALI workshop (linked in post), I’m confident there will be a comprehensive and responsible social media planning guide for law schools soon!