Closeted Harvard Students Inadvertently Outed By Facebook

Apparently some Harvard students don't realize that everything you do on social networks should be considered public, because The Crimson just published a story about Facebook-using undergrads being inadvertently outed to their parents when friends and events post LGBT-related items on their walls.

FacebookAs The Crimson puts it, "Queer students, especially, have found that ‘the closet’ on the Internet does not provide a very good lock."

Understanding Facebook’s privacy settings can be challenging, particularly due to frequent policy changes. Because of incidents like these, students said that they have become more cautious when using social media sites.

What's more interesting though are the precautions that some Harvard LGBT groups take to help protect the privacy of their possibly-closeted members:

Most of the BGLTQ groups on campus have varying forms of privacy clauses in their constitutions that allow students to hide or censor their membership to preserve confidentiality.

“Some [queer groups] are especially focused on being safe spaces where people can kind of explore themselves and come to terms with themselves,” [Allison Gofman ’14, leader of the queer Jewish organization BAGELS] said. “It’s important that you feel free to have people to talk to without having that go out to the whole world.”

QSA, the largest queer student group on campus, goes to great lengths to ensure students’ privacy by instituting policies regarding posting photos or recording names of members who speak during meetings. They also allow club officers to go by aliases on their website.

The upside of The Crimson's tale is that the two students they interviewed ended up being happy that Facebook outed them, so there's that. But remember kids, everyone can see everything you do online forever. If you don't want your business to be known, don't go online.

What's more troubling is the rising trend of haters using social networks to locate and commit violence against LGBT people — scary stuff indeed.