By Katrina Schwartz
The explosive growth of online social media sites specifically targeted at schools has compelled Facebook to edge its way back into the fertile ground of college campuses. Last week, the company announced a new feature available only to students and faculty with an active .edu email address, Groups for Schools. It’s billed to be exclusive — even alumni and perspective students aren’t allowed in, limiting the scope of the groups and creating something that approximates the intimacy that was Facebook’s strong suit when it first launched.
Groups for Schools is meant to network students in the same university community for social or extracurricular events, but also includes elements that make it useful as a study tool, like the popular platform Edmodo and a number of other similar sites that have cropped up. It allows students and teachers who are members of a group designated to a particular class, for example, to share comments on a class discussion and reading, as well as to share class materials like notes, assignments and calendars, up to 25 MB.
But just a week into its launch, red flags are already being raised. One of the main concerns that has not been addressed by Facebook is the potential liability that students, faculty, and universities might face for file-sharing through Facebook. Many universities are already cracking down on file-sharing through school-owned Internet networks, and Facebook’s new tool adds yet another Continue reading