Losing Face(book)

January 13, 2008
Posted by Jay Livingston

Here’s an update on the technical and ethical Facebook problem I mentioned a few days ago.

The teacher who offered an A+ to any student who could hack into his Facebook page had to admit, to his chagrin, that my colleague’s son had in fact gotten access. (The kid created a sock puppet – a supposed classmate of the teacher – and persuaded the teacher to “friend” him.) But the teacher negotiated the promised A+ down to an extra ten points in every category of the final grade.

The kid didn’t care so much about the grade. To him, the best part was the “mad props” he got from all his classmates.

What do we conclude from this?
  • Intangible social rewards from peers outweigh bureaucratic rewards.
  • Social solutions (creating a false identity) trump technical ones (hacking).
  • Fourteen-year-olds have no ethical qualms about deceiving a teacher who, essentially, asks for it.


Anonymous said...

thanks for the update!

jeremy said...

I'm glad the teacher was a good sport, as he was asking for it.

Bad Runner said...

I learn this: NEVER EVER throw down a challenge involving technology to someone younger than you!