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Local News -

December 14, 2007

Have risque info or photos online? It could cost you

(Continued)

In less than an hour, Rapleaf.com tracks down information, including direct links to Myspace or Facebook pages associated with that person's e-mail address.

The students say they are not opposed to the Internet.

"We still encourage Internet usage, just in a more appropriate manner," Elio said. "You are the only person who can protect yourself."

A central focus of the campaign is to encourage people to use privacy settings on Facebook and Myspace intended to keep their pages viewable only by a select audience.

As part of their project, the students perused Facebook for photos of their classmates partying using the methods an employer might use. They did this without their classmates' knowledge until the project was unveiled.

Some of the students were embarrassed and others were upset, Elderbroom said.

But the use of the photos proved students could be seen and used by anybody unless they took steps to limit it, she said.

"It's better to have us do it than have your employer do it," Elderbroom said.

She said her group made sure that nothing illegal was depicted in the photos before they were used.

"They went straight home. Put their accounts on private and took the pictures off," Guadagno said.

MySpace and Facebook can even be used to give job seekers an advantage through posting photos and comments on accounts without privacy settings that might appeal to prospective employers, they said.

Elio said some people have gone so far with this idea as to create social networking pages designed solely to promote a person's skills.

"You have the chance to show an employer positive things," Guadagno said. "It's absolutely an opportunity to make the best out of yourself."

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