Should colleges/universities to use social media sites as a vetting tool or if this is an invasion of a student’s privacy? (1250 words)

Technology helped to improve communication among people globally, and one way this was done was through the development of social media sites. In this modern world, most people are in social media where they use the platforms to communicate, and some of the leading social media include Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Wells indicated that the number of Facebook users has risen to over 10 billion users and people share their personal lives with admission officers. The officers can then establish the behavior of the users based on what they share and hence can decide when selecting students. The presence of social media has prompted universities to create social media policies. Most of the institutions of higher learning in the United States have hence used this tool to vet some of the potential students to join their system. Jerry believes that universities and colleges look at the social media pages of prospective students, and they have made that part of their vetting process. He says most institutions publicly refuse the claims since they are aware of the violations they may have been committing. According to a survey done by Koeing, as indicated in the article, 67% of the institutions acknowledged that they googled students. 86% of the institutions admitted they did their search using social media. The percentages are high, indicating the reality that institutions look at the social media pages of the prospective students (Jerry, “Davich: Do colleges look at prospective students’ social media?” But is it fair for institutions to use social media to vet students?

In my view, it is fair for universities to use social media to vet their students. The first reason is that using social media to vet will help establish a student’s behavior. According to Bill, Facebook and other social media sites will be used to vet students in the future. Using the example he had given of the intern who had lied to his boss, that shows the potential that social media has on ensuring students’ behavior is in line with the culture of institutions (Bill, “Facebook: The Next Great Vetting Tool?”). When students realize that their activities could be monitored, they will stop engaging in behaviors such as skipping school or lying about events they will attend. Institutions use social media to vet students, and the main reason is to avert the potential of bad apples from destroying their brands. It is a good strategy to protect the reputation of the institutions; hence they should establish whom they are dealing with before allowing them to join the institutions. When they realize they would be vetted through social media, students will avoid posting lousy content that will trigger negative attention and limit their possibilities of joining institutions of choice. The social media policies will also help make students abide by the rules of the institutions, which will help shape them to be good citizens and good employees in the future.

Social media can also be used to track the activities of the students to establish their personalities, and if they fit to join the field, they had applied. According to proponents of the idea, what students post on their social media represents who they are in real life. The catch will be that not all students post content on their social media pages or have multiple accounts to display different contents; hence, it will be difficult to track their behavior. Based on an interview by a professor who specializes in surveillance studies, surveillance and, in that case, vetting is essential as it helps to disperse crime. When students know they are monitored, they will change their behavior which will be helpful. People will also be cautious ion what they do in school and public places, and in my case, morality will improve in the American society (Blake, “Surveillance on campus: A Q&A with KU professor William Staples.”). Admitting or having students with bad moral behavior will negatively impact the institutions and influence other students. Students who have a history of severe action are likely to carry that to the universities, which will affect other students’ lives. People indicate that social media is changing the ethics of society, and the young people are the ones who are most affected due to the freedom it has offered. Social media policies and using them to vet students will help society uphold ethics. Vetting helps to establish who is most fit to join the institutions, and hence it is fair.

Using social media to vet students can negatively impact the students and society, and hence when vetting, institutions should adhere to the country’s laws. One of the reasons I am against it is that it is a breach of students’ privacy. When they realize social media can be used for surveillance, students will stop using social media as it will make them not feel secure. Based on one of the ted talks by Glenn Greenwald, he argues why our private matters. At the beginning of his discussion, he states that various tools are used to surveillance people’s lives in this modern world. He says that surveillance changes how people act, and I support his opinion (Glenn, “Why your Privacy matters.”). When students realize they will be vetted using their social media pages, they will be cautious of what they post on a day-to-day basis which can be viewed as both positive and negative. It will be positive since students will stop posting content that does not add value to their lives and make their public image look good. It will be detrimental since institutions of higher learning will have a wrong perspective of the students since they only post good content that may not reflect their lives.
Another reason I am against using social media to vet students is that it will increase cases of hacking of students’ social media sites. It will also lead to the creation of parody accounts which will negatively affect the affected students since they may miss admission to their preferred institutions of higher learning due to content they did not post. According to one of the deans of admissions at the University of Virginia, students can manipulate images, hack other students’ profiles, and publish the content that will hence portray the students in the wrong way (Bill, “Facebook: The Next Great Vetting Tool?”). People’s pressure due to the notion they have that they will be vetted will influence society’s values, judgment, and culture. What people will be doing in privacy can be even more dangerous, and since they are cautious, it will be difficult to identify their real behaviors. Jathan argues that privacy is not just for enjoyment, and it is a necessity for all of us. Judging students based on their social media content can be misinformed somehow, and it can limit the possibilities of students joining some institutions of higher learning (Jathan, “Why Does Privacy Matter? One Scholar’s Answer.”).

I support vetting should be done on social media for students by institutions of higher learning. The benefit it can offer is to help establish students’ behavior and prevent admitting students who will negatively impact other students and the university community. Institutions will also benefit as they will recruit and have students who are aware of the institution’s culture. The negative impact of using social media to vet can include breaching students’ privacy and increasing cases of hacking of social media personal pages. But the policies formulated should abide by the rule of law and not interfere will the privacy of the people. Only specific aspects should be considered in the vetting process as social media may not reflect an individual’s actual personality and behavior.

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