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A funny find from 1999.
A few months ago I found myself reading the May 6, 1999 edition of the Kenyon Collegian, the student newspaper of Kenyon College in Gambier, OH.
Anyway when I was reading, I came across a fascinating little article.
Here is a screenshot of the story I found:
Here’s the text if you find the screenshot a bit hard to read (bolding mine):
One of the most popular features of a Kenyon student personal Web page has been squelched. Scanned copies of the Kenyon Facebook, formerly residing on the web page of Michael Derr ‘99, were removed April 30 by the Library and Information Services.
A memo from Director of Information Access Oscar Will notified Derr of the removal, citing the following reasons: the on-line facebooks were an example of "global posting of personal information not obtained for that purpose and obtained without written consent," which is illegal, and also "makes Kenyon students vulnerable in ways mat they can not possibly be prepared for." Also given as reasons were the "numerous complaints from individuals whose pictures and information are posted there" and the fact that "the books are for internal use only and they are copyrighted."
Dean for Academic Advising Jane Martindell claimed responsibility for the removal. According to Martindell she had heard complaints from both faculty and students and spoke to Will about the removal.
"I had heard no complaints about the Web site prior to [the facebooks'] removal," said Derr. “The site was getting [around] 50 hits a day and I think it is a shame that they had to be removed."
So what we have here is a student at Kenyon College in 1999 who had scanned the paper copies of the Kenyon College student directory (called a “facebook”) and uploaded them onto his website. The student, apparently due to graduate around the time this edition of the Collegian was published, had some sort of idea that people may want to use the internet to access something called a “facebook.”
Again, this all happened in 1999.
Zuckerberg wouldn’t create Facebook in his Harvard dorm room for another five years.
The Director of Information Access at Kenyon College in 1999, Oscar Will, had the Kenyon Facebook removed from the student’s personal website (I’m not sure how) because the “global posting of personal information not obtained for that purpose and obtained without written consent…makes Kenyon students vulnerable in ways mat they can not possibly be prepared for." Apparently some students and faculty complained of the privacy violation—they didn’t expect their faces and other information to be uploaded to the internet when they submitted their documents to Kenyon College for the paper facebook.
I mean props to both the student and the Kenyon staff member for both recognizing that an online facebook would be attractive and a privacy problem.
There is truly nothing new under the sun.
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