We remember the quaint old days when the right to privacy used to rank with freedom of speech as a cherished right of American citizens. Oh, for the good ‘ol days.

Today Americans by the millions update sometimes even intimate details of their lives on their Facebook pages on the Internet.

Often, Facebook users vent about someone they think has wronged them. This kind of social networking used to take place around the water cooler at work or in the break room. But today’s social networkers have found a more powerful outlet by posting their derogatory marks on the Web.  

The surprising thing is they seem to forget that by doing so the target of their disapproval is exponentially more likely to read it. Sometimes that “someone” is a coworker. That’s bad enough. But when the negative comments are about the company in general or a boss in particular, the ante is raised by leaps and bounds.

A case reported by the New York Times involves an employee who is being represented by the National Labor Relations Board whose officials say it was wrong for the employee to be fired for using vulgarity in ridiculing her supervisor and, in effect, calling him a psychiatric patient.

Whether or not this is determined by the courts in the end to be protected free speech is really almost beside the point. The main point is it isn’t smart to broadcast one’s “dirty laundry” in such public fashion. There are ramifications.

It isn’t even smart to make unkind Facebook comments about other people even if one withholds the names of those targeted. It can only lead to hard feelings and a great deal of unnecessary trouble down the line.

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