The effects of a social media policy on pharmacy students' facebook security settings

Am J Pharm Educ. 2011 Nov 10;75(9):177. doi: 10.5688/ajpe759177.


Objective: To examine how students entering a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) program used Facebook privacy settings before and after the college's social media policy was presented to them.

Methods: The Facebook profiles of all entering first-year pharmacy students across 4 campuses of a college of pharmacy were evaluated. Ten dichotomous variables of interest were viewed and recorded for each student's Facebook account at 3 time points: before the start of the semester, after presentation of the college's social media policy, and at the end of the semester. Data on whether a profile could be found and what portions of the profile were viewable also were collected.

Results: After introduction of the policy, a significant number of students increased their security settings (made information not visible to the public) related to Facebook walls, information pages, and links.

Conclusions: Making pharmacy students aware of a college's social media policy had a positive impact on their behaviors regarding online security and privacy.

Keywords: Facebook; policy; professionalism; social media.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Internet / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Internet / standards
  • Organizational Policy*
  • Privacy* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Public Policy* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Social Media / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Social Media / standards*
  • Students, Pharmacy* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Universities / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Universities / standards