Proofpoint: Security, Compliance and the Cloud

March 05, 2010

More from the "Facebook Fired" File: East Stroudsburg University Professor Suspended for "Funny" Facebook Updates

According to a new article out today at Inc. Magazine (see, "Would You Suspend an Employee Over a Status Update?"), an associate professor of sociology at Est Stroudsburg University (Pennsylvania) has been put on indefinite paid leave for posting Facebook status updates that the university is investigating as potentially threatening.

The posts in question from January and February of this year - which reportedly read "Does anyone know where I can find a very discrete hitman?" and "Had a good day today. DIDN'T want to kill even one student. Now Friday was a different story." - set off alarm bells for university officials. Inc. reports that the university does not have a social media monitoring policy, but a spokesperson said, "Given the climate of security concerns in academia, the university has an obligation to take all threats seriously and act accordingly."

As is common in article of this type these days, the Inc. story quotes Proofpoint's statistics about social media monitoring and related risks (download a copy of our complete DLP statistics here), saying:

Type "Facebook" and "fired" into any search engine and you'll get an ever-growing list of people who've stuck a foot into the wide-open mouth that is Facebook – and it's cost them dearly. A 2009 study by Proofpoint, an Internet security firm, found that 17 percent of companies report having issues with employees' use of social media, and 8 percent have actually dismissed someone for their behavior on those sites. In the previous year's study, just 4 percent were fired for their social media sins.

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