Many schools around the country use Facebook as an important tool to communicate with parents and students. However, this can also have major privacy drawbacks for students who are featured in the schools’ posts. According to a report released this week from the American Educational Research Association, these posts may violate student privacy by allowing third parties to access data about young users. And according to the group, this problem could be distressingly widespread.
“Using a novel data set of 18 million posts on Facebook by schools and school districts in the United States, we sought to establish how frequently photos of students were shared,” the report said. “We estimated that around 4.9 million posts included identifiable images of students and that approximately 726,000 of these posts also included students’ first and last names and their approximate location.”
In response, the group has recommended that schools improve their media release forms for parents to decide if their children’s images can be used. They also called on schools to take more responsibility and consider the potential privacy pitfalls of posting young users’ info. Time will tell if schools listen, but this seems like a pretty easy step to take to protect children’s privacy.
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