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Schools in the United States are active on social media. They use their accounts to share timely information, build community, and highlight staff and students. Research has shown, however, that schools’ social media activity may harm students’ privacy.

Joshua Rosenberg

Assistant Professor of STEM Education Joshua Rosenberg and his research colleagues came to the topic of student privacy unintentionally by exploring how schools used social media during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the course of their research, they noticed something surprising about how Facebook worked: they could view the posts of schools, including images of teachers and students, even when they weren’t logged in to a Facebook account.

Since practically all US schools report their websites to the National Center for Education Statistics, and many schools link to their Facebook pages from their websites, these posts could be widely and easily accessed. In other words, advertisers and hackers could use data mining methods to access all of the posts by any school with a Facebook account. This comprehensive access allowed Rosenberg and his colleagues to study phenomena like violations of students’ privacy at a massive scale. Read the full article on The Conversation.

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Lindsey Owen (865-974-6375,