Two Belgian college students have been flunked for cheating on their written exams, getting zero points for two courses because they had reportedly been caught exchanging responses during the tests. Notably, the determining evidence used in the case came straight from Facebook conversations held by the two students and some of their friends.
Supervisors had noticed the two young men talking to each other during the exams and constantly eying them to stay on top of their location in the room, but had apparently failed to find any hard evidence of cheating.
Additionally, fellow students had reported the cheating by the two students anonymously and by e-mail, but this was still insufficient for the exam council to nail them for fraud. But then a couple of threads on Facebook held prior to and after the exams surfaced, proving that the cheating had been going on for quite a while and showing that the students were pretty proud of the fact they hadn’t been caught to date.
The council ultimately determined the conversations on the social network could be used as evidence, resulting in the flunking after the students confessed to cheating (which they later withdrew claiming that the conversations were completely unrelated – yeah right).
Noteworthy: there were complaints (presumably from the students themselves and/or their parents) that Facebook could not be used as evidence arguing it is a personal medium, but the council president wiped those claims off the table saying Facebook is ‘semi-public’ and users have full control over what is shown and what is not.
What do you think: was it right for the council to decide Facebook conversations could be used as evidence in this case or not?