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    http://education.guardian.co.uk/univ...238962,00.html

    Would-be students checked on Facebook


    Jessica Shepherd and David Shariatmadari
    Friday January 11, 2008
    The Guardian


    A Cambridge University admissions tutor has admitted he checks up on students applying to his college by browsing their Facebook profiles. Dr Richard Barnes, senior tutor at Emmanuel College, confessed in the college magazine.
    "This has been the year in which I joined Facebook," he wrote. "I have to confess that I actually joined to see what I was missing and also to check up (discreetly) on applicants for a college position. I had been alerted to the value of this by some of our members in the City." Cambridge University played down the comment as a "throwaway line". "You know perfectly well how our admission procedures work," said a spokesman.

    Cambridge, like Oxford, insists it only offers places based on a candidate's interview performance, academic record and personal statement, outlining their interests and reasons for studying a particular course. Facebook profiles often include personal information such as photos, relationship status and sexuality. But it is possible to ensure these are seen only by friends.

    Wes Streeting, the National Union of Students vice-president for education, said Barnes's comments were "unfortunate, but flippant".

    "I would be quite concerned if it was college policy to check up on applicants through Facebook," he said. "It is a given that candidates are judged fairly and equally. That wouldn't be the case if a tutor was using Facebook profiles."

    An Oxford academic said: "I think this is really intrusive and most unreasonable." Another said: "It would certainly be unacceptable in the case of admissions, where we strive to consider as comparable a data set for all candidates as possible." But a third said: "It's fair to check up on applicants in this way. Facebook is public domain material."

    Barnes refused to comment.
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    Interesting. It'd be common sense, if you have anything embarassing on your facebook, to hide your profile when applying to uni / for jobs, though, no?
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    I don't understand how he was able to do it. Doesn't virtually everyone have their Facebook set to "private"?
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    Personally, I think that checks on Facebook etc. could improve the admissions process, as it gives a much better idea of a person as a whole than grades/PS alone might.

    However, the same approach would have to be adopted everywhere - if it's just the one Cambridge college doing this, then it does become much more unfair. Maybe if/once the idea spreads though, it'd be a good thing.
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    Well, if you have your facebook set to anything but 'private' you are asking for trouble. Everyone knows that people use google/facebook/the net generally to find out more about people.
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    This is obtrusive and morally wrong.
    People have a right to privacy, and candidates should be judged on the content of their application, not superfluous external details.

    Besides, this method would never work now that it's in the open - people will just deliberately alter their profiles... the whole concept of spying on them to see what they're like (or 'discreetly' checking up on them, as Barnes says) has been blown out of the water.
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    :mad: :mad: :mad: I know Richard Barnes of old - He is arrogant, predjudiced and disliked in several staff and student circles (would elaborate but I'm afraid the toad is here, spying on us too).

    Having said all that, anyone who keeps their facbook profile open is an idiot. A girl in the year below me wrote of our director of studies that she is 'a wizened, monkey-faced old crow. :eek: very, very naive.
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    (Original post by Greatleysteg)
    This is obtrusive and morally wrong.
    People have a right to privacy
    By putting any information up, openly, on the web, for anyone to see, one forfeits the right to privacy.
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    (Original post by Tom)
    By putting any information up, openly, on the web, for anyone to see, one forfeits the right to privacy.
    That's true, but in terms of their university application, it oughtn't be even considered as a deciding factor.

    edit: Plus it's not usually for anyone to see, but for those who've been approved.
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    (Original post by Bumblebee3)
    :mad: :mad: :mad: I know Richard Barnes of old - He is arrogant, predjudiced and disliked in several staff and student circles (would elaborate but I'm afraid the toad is here, spying on us too).
    Ah c'mon, tell us. You've gone far enough into rudeness to piss him off already, if he's reading this, so you may as well go the whole hog now

    Or, stick it in a new thread somewhere, without his name or the guardian article in it. Chances of him running across it by chance, without his own name to come up as a search keyword, seem pretty slim.
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    Two points:

    1. the authors of the article seem to have made a mistake, presumably through ignorance. In Cambridge, "applicants for a college position" clearly means "applicants for a teaching JOB at the college", NOT "applicants for student places".

    2. Tom is right. Legally, there is NO "right to privacy" on the internet. Posting to any internet site is legally defined as "publication", with the domain host acting as publisher.
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    (Original post by Tom)
    Ah c'mon, tell us. You've gone far enough into rudeness to piss him off already, if he's reading this, so you may as well go the whole hog now

    Or, stick it in a new thread somewhere, without his name or the guardian article in it. Chances of him running across it by chance, without his own name to come up as a search keyword, seem pretty slim.
    *agrees* Yeah I gotta say, I'm intrigued... pleeeease?
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    "UGH - This applicant turned out to be The Todd on his "Which Scrubs Character Are You?" Quiz - He's definetly going in the rejection pile."

    :rolleyes:
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    Also:

    *facebook stalks the admissions guy*





    edit: http://cambridge.facebook.com/profil...rnes%2Crichard if anyone's interested :p:
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    :eek: Good thing my facebook is set to private. Not that there's anything bad about cambridge on it.

    I'm not surprised, honestly. There were always theories about admissions tutors checking up on people...even on TSR.
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    If I was employing someone for a job and there was the opportunity for me to read their profile, I would. But I doubt it would affect my decision much.
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    Huh, so this is the man who wrote me my offer letter.
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    (Original post by GodspeedGehenna)
    "UGH - This applicant turned out to be The Todd on his "Which Scrubs Character Are You?" Quiz - He's definetly going in the rejection pile."

    :rolleyes:
    ha ha, that was so going through my mind, too..

    it was like...he has this criteria with boxes to be ticked:

    "hmm, ok... the quiz says he's Hitler, his sex position is 69, he's 4% obnoxious... I'm beginning to like this guy"
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    (Original post by Lizsco3)
    :eek: Good thing my facebook is set to private. Not that there's anything bad about cambridge on it.

    I'm not surprised, honestly. There were always theories about admissions tutors checking up on people...even on TSR.
    Well there's ************ (censored?) which was set up by UCAS/Affiliates of UCAS for applicants to discuss stuff and meet each other (it's still in its infancy, nowhere near as good as TSR) and there were conspiracy theories there, too, where we thought the interviewers might have moles searching for the list of applicants' profiles... Facebook, MySpace (which would be more revealing as it's text-based, not app-based), Yougo and all sorts..
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    Reading it again, Zaranna's got a point through: "college position" plus reference to friends int he city makes it pretty clear he's talking about applicants for a staff post, not students in the admissions cycle.
 
 
 
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