Blog: Multimedia event explores Facebook rules

Friday, March 20, 2009

  • Video of event

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    Students and community members gathered at Belmont University in Nashville on
    March 2 for a panel discussion about user rights on social-networking Web sites.
    The discussion featured blogger Morgan Levy, Belmont student Abby Selden,
    attorney Douglas L. Pierce, and Jason Meriwether, assistant dean of student
    affairs from Fisk University, and me.

    Lance Conzett, a senior majoring in journalism at Belmont University and an
    intern at the First Amendment Center, reported:

    Facebook to Twitter: Rules, Rights and Realities of Social Networks”
    planned in the wake of changes Facebook made to its terms of use, which brought
    to light concerns about ownership and privacy on the social-networking

    The Web site claims more than 175 million active users, who upload more than
    850 million photos and 28 million other pieces of content per month according to
    Facebook’s press statistics. Although the Web site has since rescinded its
    changed terms, other Web sites like MySpace, Twitter and YouTube are now under
    scrutiny by their users.

    Although the conversation began with terms of use and whether it's legal for
    Web sites such as Facebook to appropriate its users' content for commercial use,
    discussion quickly turned to the privacy of young people online and how social
    networks have made it easier to find personal information.

    The panel agreed that potentially embarrassing or damaging personal
    information has never been easier to find and that, often, young people are
    sacrificing their privacy rights by putting potentially unflattering information
    and pictures online.

    Levy, however, offered one dissenting opinion, saying that there is a place
    for personality online and that some employers are not as opposed to online
    profiles as one might think.

    Several Belmont journalism students were tasked with covering the forum using
    a variety of multimedia tools. The journalists, all students in a class
    dedicated to understanding news in online media, broadcast live video, conducted
    live blogging, hosted radio shows with their cell phones, recorded reactions on
    video and shared photographs during and after the hourlong event.

    The class’s blog collected all of the coverage from the night's event at

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