Posted January 29, 2008 10:15 am by with 9 comments

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I’ve written before about the dangers of not carefully monitoring who you "friend" on social networks. While it might feel like you’re in a popularity contest–and need lots of friends to win–but you should be careful who you associate yourself with.

A cop down in Florida is learning this lesson the hard way. He’s under investigation after it was discovered one of his MySpace friends linked to porn. Not normally a big deal. However, the cop works at a middle school and set up the MySpace profile in an attempt to better connect with the kids he’s protecting.

Gulf Middle School resource officer John Nohejl didn’t have porn on his MySpace profile, and he didn’t link to porn. But one of the 170-odd people on his friends list, which seems mostly populated by students at his school, had a link to a legal adult site. Now the New Port Richey Police Department and the Florida attorney general’s elite cyber crimes unit are investigating him for making adult content available to underage children.

His motivations were honorable, but his association with a single friend could now cost him his job.

You may not ever find yourself in the same extreme circumstances, but before you add "Joey the drug taking" school friend you might want to consider how that might reflect on your reputation.


  • I think people go overboard sometimes in things like this. How can anyone reasonably be expected to know what each and every friend is doing all the time? How many people consistently check up on everyone they’ve added as a friend on any social network.

    Are we now all to be held responsible for the things the people we may have some association with do?

  • @Steven – I agree, you shouldn’t be held accountable for the actions of your friends. That said, think twice about who you add. If you add a friend that you know will likely link to porn, you might want to think about how that would reflect on you. In this case, what was the cop thinking when he set up a MySpace profile to connect with the school kids, then used it to invite other friends too? He should have had two different profiles.

  • Dean

    The funniest part of the story is that the school’s own website linked directly to porn. Does that mean the school gets fired too?

    It brings up an interesting point though…How accountable are you for your social sites (be they MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn etc). I mean if I have (had) Kenneth Lay in my LinkedIn network does that make me a corporate thief? To some degree the accusors gotta use some common sense (and take down their own porn links).

    Also at issue are those who set up sites posing as people they would want to harm. It wouldn’t be that hard for me to setup an Andy Beal profile on one of these sites and trash his reputation and as far as I know there is know legal restriction from doing so. No I wouldn’t do that Andy, but if I did, you could hire yourself to cleanse that reputation 🙂

  • @Dean – remember, I know where you live (or at least work). 😉

  • So don’t make any friends in MySpace 🙂

  • james

    yeah let me tell you…. its such a big investigation that he is still working at the school and never missed a day of work yet….. lol find something else to write about, this officer did not do anything wrong……

  • Hello all , hi i just wanted to comment Officer John , this is not very fair at all i am one of officer johns’ friends on my space and it is truly unfair that he now gets this kind of tag , really this sucks !!! Jeez my employer is on myspace , does this mean that the if 1 of the 10,000 + employees who work where i work would ever link porn that all of us would be guilty for having that person as a friend ? thats crazy omg !!!! jeez just very upsetting to see how a small little thing can trigger nasty ppls attitudes who have nothing better to do then look to cause problems for others , it sucks !! peace all …


  • Hi again 🙂

    JUst wanted to add thanks James for stating that , thanks for seeing common sence 🙂
    as for you Mobile guy hmm well i will skip what my mind really wants to tell you haha well it wasnt very nice so i wont say it 🙂 take care all ..


  • Unreal. I thought I had some sketchy friends on my friend list. This is too funny.