Downsides of social media for injured workers

Let’s face it, many injured workers  are actively participating  in various forms of social media for example through blogging, Twitter-ing, and Facebook-ing and are unaware that there are some serious downsides to this practice. Especially since our blog’s recent DoS attack, I have been thinking a lot about this topic and I believe it would be helpful to share some of my informed thoughts for injured workers using or considering a dive into the social media space.

Downsides of social media for injured workers

I know I/we have published many articles about the dangers of using social media [under keyword “surveillance”] whilst on workers compensation, but I believe that it is necessary to raise the downsides of using social media over and over again.

Following the severe DoS attack on aworkcovervictimsdiary’s site, I have been discussing the use and the dangers of “social media” with many informed people, including other injured workers who blog (and have had their site copied by workcover] and experienced lawyers. One such a discussion with a lawyer stood out:

There is virtually no doubt that WorkSafe [or agent] tried to  bring down aworkcovervictimsdiary’s site trying to download information from it… maybe in contemplation of using it against you [owner, authors, contributors ] in potential proceedings. A lawyer colleague of mine used to work for the TAC and says they [TAC and WorkCover and insurance agents frequently download Facebook pages, entire blogs, websites etc… in case the “evidence” is later deleted.

Blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting etc really is forever

Even if you try to delete a single published post or an entire blog, a Tumblr site or Facebook page,  it’s really very tough to delete all the references to the work/articles/comments etc that have been reprinted, reformatted or placed in an archived cache online.

In addition to that as the lawyer we spoke to stated: WorkCover and insurance agents frequently download Facebook pages, entire blogs, websites etc… in case the “evidence” is later deleted – so basically what we are saying is that YOU (the injured worker) have very little to no control about the content of your social media (even if you were to delete it, chances are that someone else has already shared or reprinted you “old” material and chances are that workcover or their agents have been crawling all over your sites and tweets and made entire copies of it!).

Dis you know that the map of a single tweet  (see below) for example also exposes us, injured workers,  to the reality of the internet: much more is contained in any post or tweet besides its content, for example information about the time, the computer type, and even the location.

When your publish a thought, article, comment on a social media platform, you are writing in pen (make that a an indelible marker!), not pencil! And, sadly, there is the real potential to take prose out of context (sarcastic or not) which could then have significant legal ramifications for those injured workers, especially those under “surveillance” and those in a (potential) common law damages claim .

In my couple of months writing (well, dictating and having just about all of my blog posts actually physically entered for me,  in my case), I often think about this and wonder if the benefits I (and our co-authors) have garnered by sharing some of my/our [workcover] insights could be rendered mute by a single legal reference to this blog, or – perhaps worse – if somehow the contents of this site could be used against an injured worker.

Remember that just a few months ago the administrator of aworkcovervictimsdiary was threatened with a law suit for “defamation” by Allianz NSW and their lawyers. Obviously this was not about “defamation”, rather an intimidating attempt to shut is (authors, contributors, domain owner) up.

Whilst I/ we [authors] are not eligible for a common law damages claim, or involved in any court proceedings and certainly have nothing to fear from the insurance company or my/our employer; I am just imagining that – like some of you – =what if I/we was/were eligible, or in the midst of a law suit? What if I/we/you was/were currently under PI surveillance with a threat of cutting of my/our/your benefits (medical care or weekly payments), …

what if my case manager was snooping around in my/our/your Facebook, Tweets etc to find out “more” about me/us/you… so what if?

Is it going to bite you?

Perhaps you are blogging or tweeting or Facebooking just to socialise (fact is most of us, seriously injured workers, including myself,  are socially isolated); or maybe you do it to show your “strength.” Perhaps you do it because you want to stand up for what you believe.

Whatever the reason, injured workers need to rapidly wake up as  blogger/Tweeter/Facebooker. You need to pause every time you are about to post or tweet.

Social media is not a legally risk-free hobby!

Being a “blogger” I have learned to appreciate the power of social media. I have also learned that people who decide to attack bloggers/tweeteres who tell the truth -or who tell lies- risk being even more exposed themselves (this phenomenon has been dubbed “The Streisand Effect.”)

That’s because most bloggers to their homework and are careful to obtain background documents or refer  evidence to support their commentary.

Most of all, good bloggers, tweeteres, Facebookers consider their words carefully and know when NOT to publish as well.

So if you’re going to do this social media thing seriously, you need to realise that it does have risks that you might not suspect or be  aware of.

It would be good for YOU (all injured workers participating in social media) to review information offered by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They have many helpful legal resources for bloggers there, new or old.

The Take-Home Message

So after all of this, what do I really think about social media for injured workers now? In our increasingly connected injured world, social media will be an asset for some, but a liability for others.

Be very very careful of what you write, think about it first, back up with evidence if you can and do not get trapped in the Streisand Effect; for example do not IMPULSIVELY reply to some comments, tweets etc – do NOT lose your cool, do not get angry or upset and always word your blogs, tweets, comments VERY carefully [phrase it in such a way that if a PI our workcover agent were to read it, it can not be twisted or taken out of context].

A good example would be an injured worker writing on Facebook page that “they spent all day moving house” – this is a very poor choice of wording and it can be easily taken out of context (by workcover et al) finding that “if you can move house, you can’t be as injured/impaired as you claim to be”. So, in this example you ought to write for example “I spent all day moving house – well, my family, friends,… actually all came and packed all my belongings in boxes for me, how kind…” (If that is true obviously).

Another example: ” I am cleaning out the swimming pool” – whereas you actually need to write it as it is: ” my son, whatever, is taking the bugs out of my pool and I am helping where I can, whatever”. Another common one ” I had a drink last night…”, whereas you are really saying that you had so much pain, grief, wathever that you drank half a glass of red on top of your painkillers” – you see workcover et al does NOT know anything about you (personal life) and can so easily misconstrue a “case against you”, for example implying that hey, as you were drinking, you must surely have been partying like hell, and how can you claim to be depressed…

 

map-of-a-tweet

 

 

Post predicated and entered by T on behalf of WCV –> as I am physically UNABLE to type posts, insert pictures, and dictate my posts from a couch with my arm supported by a sling and pillows, and it can take several days for me to dictate an article, post as I am in a hell of a lot of pain

 

http://wp.me/p1MA9G-1j1

 

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ithurts
Guest
Christine, we are a family here & we all go thru stages of injury, pain & medication. You have more support than just WCV & Pauline. One day we may all get to meet face to face, but for now, most of us are not well enough to venture outside. Nothing happens or changes overnight, it takes time. I believe this site was attacked because together we are gathering strength, together we have a voice & together we have power. I believe there will be other attempts to attack or shut down this site because together we are making too… Read more »
Christine
Guest
Thankyou Pauline for your care. You& WCVD were all I had left. You are amazinging. I am not. I said something wrong & i was trying to express my gratitude. Everything is wrong no matter what I. Do. I’m without ANY friends, or family, as no one can handle/understand why I hAve been bullied,slandered,intimidated. From having a family to having no one in 15months. From being an injured worker proud of returning to work to total ‘dropkick’ I Realize now I’m a pain to all. For which I’m so sorry. I thought sharing was good. I was wrong. I am.… Read more »
workcovervictim
Guest
Christine, you didn’t say anything wrong at all – I just felt the need to explain that I would and will not ever be intimidated and that you can trust me, and us on this site, to continue our mighty fight against such a corrupt and sick system. Nothing will drop us to our knees, on the contrary, every assault, attack, bullying intimidation just makes me/us much stronger and even more angry, which in turns fuels mu/our crusade for a better place and for justice. You are not a dropkick, you are AMAZING and you are part of our FAMILY!… Read more »
Pauline Pope
Guest
Christine, please stop putting yourself down. That’s the Workover’s job, so don’t help them. You’ve been on a wild ride to hell with all that workplace mobbing and then the relentless, mind-boggling bullying from Workover. Workover messes with your mind in exactly the same way that all bullies, domestic abusers and rapists do. If you’ve experienced any other form of abuse in your life, being in Workover will probably trigger all your past bad memories. So you have to deal with that as well as all the rubbish from the mobbing. You think that Workover is there to keep you… Read more »
beebee
Guest

Should bazz be saying this…
“oh mr conroy, I found out a third party excuse/ way of censoring my potential and current detractors” please make up some public propaganda to support my personal interests…

Did someone steal Bazzas pacifier when he was a bub?
Awww poor bazz there there
After all he has done to poor innocent law abiding people and he can,t take a bit of factual criticism
A profiler would have a field day with you, Im sure
Was it bugs bunny who said
“What a maroon”
Come and live in the real world barry.
no better still stay, right there …at arms length

BB

Phil
Guest

“O’Farrell wants to punish internet trolls.

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell says he will work with the federal government to toughen laws to punish internet trolls after footballer Robbie Farah copped abuse on Twitter.”

Please read more here:
http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8530226

workcovervictim
Guest

Ha! Should we write to Barry Boy and ask him to PUNISH workcover authorities, or their rogue employees,and their lawyers and insurance agents – all identified “internet trolls” illegally accessing, copying, trolling and attacking injured workers websites? And for leaving pretty nasty comments on our forum for example as well as on our “insult” page?

Phil
Guest

It is not easy for any government to suppress peoples’ voice. It is unconstitutional and therefore illegal.

If they try to ban any website, then this information would be placed on massive billboards in every city.

I hope they wouldn’t try to cross the limit or test our patience.

gerard crewdson
Guest

I can confirm from cases that I have been involved in that surveillance of social media is used to gather evidence to be used in court and as part of a standard malicious tactic to discredit and blacken the complainant/victim. With regard to the attack on this site I believe it is a sign that the authorities feel threatened by the credibility and truthfulness of the information revealed in your postings and the fact that it is bringing victims together. I agree completely with your advice. Our only and best defence is always to speak and write carefully and honestly.

soula
Guest
completely agree with your caution guys but there is also another way to take this and that is to use your social media to ‘guide’ the investigators. a way to help us heal, to help us vent, to communicate the disgusting system we’re in. eg. recently when i was investigated i asked for a copy of the report. of course i have no idea if i received the report in it’s entirety or whether i’ve been investigated since but i did notice that a few of my creative posts, blogs, fb pages were found BUT NOT MY PAIN BLOG… the… Read more »
workcovervictim
Guest

Soula, I LOVE the way you are handling things, you are outsmarting the suckers in a big way! Thank you for sharing your story and link – it is giving some interesting ideas.
Love

soula
Guest
thanks workcovervictim. there’s so much of this system that seems illegal to me. i thought of photographing the investigators and putting their photos online but i’m not sure we can do that … anyone know the rules there? we obviously can be photographed by investigators but can they be photographed? investigation either has to be done accurately or it should stop, especially when its used to portray someone as fraudelent. the fact is what the investigator and insurance companies are doing is fraudelent. where’s the legislation to protect innocent people from this horror? let’s investigate WorkSafe and see how they… Read more »
Anthony
Guest

Investigators are paparazzi!

Lou
Guest

Workcover are just another insurance company, but they have the added advantage of having a monopoly. They may seem like another government department that care about social issues, but don’t be deceived. They are just an Insurance company and perform all the tricks and deceits that are typical of insurance companies

workcovervictim
Guest
I can assure you that I (and our co-authors etc) are really NOT intimidated by workcover, nor their insurers and will NEVER be. That is why we took drastic action and referred our site to a secure private server, so WE can SPY on the bullies and those who want to shut us up. We have total control of who accesses our site and many insurers, worksafe and their lawyers can’t even access the site any longer (which means they cannot copy, download or conduct attacks on our server). However, this latest incident has thought us yet another invaluable lesson,… Read more »
Christine
Guest

Dear WCVD, I apologise if you thought I was saying you were being affected by THEIR OBVIOUS ATTEMPTS TO IMTIMIDATE. I was only trying to say I would do anything to help & that what you were going through was HIGHLIGHTING THE STRENGTH YOU OFFER so many as a role model. I apologise.sorry sorry sorry

Pauline Pope
Guest

Good luck with your next operation Lisa. I’d offer to help you with the typing if we could work out a way to do it on the net. I have good internet in my current house sit – here for next 3 weeks. Maybe Skype?

Christine
Guest
They win AGAIN!!! The beauty & comfort of the interactions here gave me hope. They, YOU inspired us to be courageous. It is a known fact that BULLIES DO ANYTHING TO SHUT US UP. All the MEDICAL PSYCHIATRIC research INSISTS “pathway to healing is to SHOUT OUT, not die quietly as they punish you for an injury you DID NOT WANT. Empathy is only gained when we disclose the personal, allowing others to see THEY ARE NOT ALONE. Thousands of injured workers across the globe have gained from the open, TRUTH. Of the BULLYING injured workers have shared. Today, hearing… Read more »
Trinny
Guest
This article is very true. Very, very wise advice. It wasn’t until a few months into my Workcover experience I was challenged with a small statement I said in the early stages of my claim. Even though I had nothing to hide my employer was taking notes and used this small piece of information. Twisted it to suit themselves. It was an innocent passing comment. The purpose was to refuse to take responsibility for a poorly constructed return to work program. This was done in a meeting involving a little gang. Including case manager and employer. After this I refused… Read more »
Bunny
Guest

I agree wholeheartedly with this article. I am very careful with tweets and facebook, in fact most of my comments are political. So if the insurance companies want to use my statements about how unfair O Farrell has been in court I would be more than happy to let them.

Pauline Pope
Guest
Thanks for this information and the web sites, Lisa. I tend to open my mouth and shout loudly when I’m able. I figure I can do this because I have nothing left to lose but my life and I don’t think the Workover is taking out contracts on the lives of mouthy injured workers yet. If I had an income, a job to protect, I would be more careful. That said, I have to be extra careful on my bad days, to not allow identifying information about other players in the system to remain in the documents i load up… Read more »
Phil
Guest

It seems you are very depressed. If you don’t mind, may I suggest you to involve yourself a little more with your family and friends. Don’t get disheartened and collect all your anger to continue with your fight. Once you accept you have nothing to lose, you start losing the battle. Remember, you are precious to your family and friends. So please don’t give up as yet.

Pauline Pope
Guest
thanks Phil. I started taking my anti-depressants again over a month ago, so I’m really not feeling tooo bad, except for when I get contact from the Workover. My family, and especially my beautiful 14 month old granddaughter are totally precious to me. Having nothing to lose was a reference to the fact that due to the Workover, I have already lost my job, my career, my mental health, and my home. There is certainly nothing more that the Workover can take from me other than my weekly psych consultations, and those I would fight for no matter how bad… Read more »