Facebook law deemed ‘naive’ by associate professor

Facebook law deemed naive by associate professor

Daphne Yu

Jounalism student senior Kirsten Buchannan uses her laptop to access sites online.
Social Media has not only affected the style of journalism today, but influences personal relationships in this current, teen generation. Early this fall, the “facebook law” that prohibited teachers from having any contact with, or befriending students  was temporarily on hold.  Legislators now have second thoughts because of protest for freedom of speech and disagreement over the the role of government.
“It shouldn’t be the responsibility of the government to decide that,” Vadim Lavrusik, the journalist program manager at Facebook.  “I think that teachers are responsible enough to[keep control of themselves], and schools should be the ones that are making those guidelines in their specific schools.”
Lavrusik is not the only one who believes the government has no right to dictate and restrict social media. Marilyn Toalson, the EEE teacher and student college advisor at Rock Bridge High School realizes the importance of using social networking sites to connect with students.
“When legislators tried to pass the law they didn’t understand Facebook and they didn’t understand high school students,” Toalson said. “In a class such as journalism or art, I have to get hold of students on very short notice. It’s silly to have a law to ban me from communicating with students.”
Even though legislators created the law to prevent any inappropriate relationship between teachers and students, the law itself is trying to fix a problem that only applies to a certain pool of people. Charles Davis, the Associate Professor at the Missouri University’s School of Journalism and a Facilitator of the Media of the Future Initiative program, focuses on government and media law. He did not feel that school legislators had the power or the right to take that right away from the majority of teachers.
“They’re going to have to yield sooner or later to reality, and the reality is that this is where we are as a society and you don’t suddenly stop becoming part of the digital culture because you’re at school,” Davis said. “In fact if we embrace this stuff in college, it can be an amazing teaching tool.”
According to Lavrusik, Facebook and other networking sites are necessary for modern news distribution and needs to be a part of society for communication purposes.
“It’s a news platform. I mean a lot of the way people get their news is through friends and connections on Facebook, ” Lavrusik said. “It’s become more than just a social network, it’s a platform for how people communicate, It’s a platform for how people connect, and really express themselves.”
While Facebook started as just a social networking site, the evolution of social media has pushed Facebook to become more than just the place to catch on with who’s going out with who. Facebook recently designed a news app right on the website that students and users can use right away.
“It’s a bridge for [communication],” Lavrusik said. “It used to be mostly you would ‘like’ a news organization’s page or something, and you’d get news and you’d click on a link that you’d find interesting about a story. [Now,] you’d get more information by actually reading it on that news website.”
By Daphne Yu and Kaitlyn Marsh
Students comment on impact of social media
Audio Recording 6POD