The point can never be emphasised enough, what goes online stays online. If you were unsure of the implications that social media or any online content for that matter could have on your life then this story could well be an eye opener.
In April this year, the acceptance of 10 incoming Harvard students was rescinded because of their involvement in obscene online behaviour. The prospective class of 2021 students were caught to be exchanging obscene content in a small Facebook group and were exposed by the school newspaper.
They shared content which made fun of touchy subjects such as sexual harassment, the Holocaust and more. Yes, even in a Facebook group it is possible to be found out, we need to understand that even in “closed groups” on the internet, it is still possible for information to get out into the public domain.
Some messages in the Facebook group joked that abusing children was sexually arousing and others directed abuse at specific ethnic or racial groups. For full context, the current Harvard acceptance rate is 5.2% and was formed from the general Harvard Class of 2021 Facebook page which is where students can become acquainted before attending in the fall.
Harvard admissions officers asked students via email to disclose content they had shared with the group and 10 students had their offers revoked.
It is a stark reminder that everything we do online can have consequences. There is no true delete function that wipes something off the internet. It doesn’t exists, all delete does is take the content from that place in that moment.
But it never truly vanishes. Someone grabs a screenshot before you take it down in the mere seconds it was there, there is an archived version of the web page somewhere which can be easily retrieved.
When you hit the post button or the tweet button, it is out there. That is why it is even more important to make sure you are happy with what you have shared on social media because you can be sure that people are watching.
Schools are watching, universities are watching, employers are watching. Social media has become this great tool to share content online but it has also become a tool which allows people to see more about us than they have been able to do so before because of the data we knowingly and willingly provide to these platforms.
Nobody is saying to stop having fun, but there is a line and we all know where it is. Just because you feel safe behind a keyboard and a screen does not mean you can say whatever you please.
If you are looking for all kinds of tips to help protect your reputation on social media and still enjoy the experience you need to check out Wayne Denner’s website. He knows all you need to know and can help point you in the safest direction.
When asked about the matter, Harvard issued the following statement to the media:
“Harvard College reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under various conditions including if an admitted student engages in behavior that brings into question his or her honesty, maturity or moral character.”
Would you risk the chance of attending the course you want in the school you wish to attend or would you risk that dream job opportunity because of silly mistakes you make on social media? Think before you post.