Misuse of Social Media on Campus in Fairfax

Although the misuse of social media is not typically a criminal offense, it can be penalized by a Fairfax university based on its student honor code violation policy if the violation involves a student or takes place on campus.

A university’s student honor code serves as the rules of the university for students, and violating the code can ultimately lead to the student’s suspension or expulsion from the university depending on the circumstances of the case.  The code also covers numerous university rules other than the misuse of social media on campus, which can impact a student’s life and can sometimes require student defense, especially if the circumstances of the case escalate to a criminal offense.

University Awareness of Misuse

Universities become aware of students misusing social media because they are on social media, too. It is usually reported by other students and academic advisers will read what is reported. Anything that students put on the internet can be seen by anyone in their friend group, their greater social network, and often by people that they are not close friends with but maybe acquaintances.

Since social networking is so accessible and easy to access, the administration can become aware of the things that a student posts from almost any source.


Consequences of misusing social media depend exclusively on the circumstances. If a person is infringing on the privacy, background, or characteristic of other students, it could be considered on record violation. Harassing someone through social media, spreading rumors, bullying, or intimidating a person could have criminal implications, as well as honor code or academic or administrative implications within your university.

It depends on the situation; there is a myriad of ways that somebody can turn social networking into a violation of either the student’s administrative or honor code or the criminal laws of Virginia.

Criminal Charges

The misuse of social media can lead to criminal charges, like harassment or stalking. It depends on the circumstances, but if the student’s actions fall within harassment or stalking statutes under the code of Virginia, they can be charged with a criminal offense.

Protecting from Misuse of Social Media Allegations

Students that want to be protected from being accused of misuse of social media on campus should remember that everything they post is going to be out there long after they remove it, and their comments will be forwarded and copied. Years from now, a person will be able to pull it up and other people might be able to find it.

They must realize that the information put on social media without the appropriate privacy settings can be available to anybody, including the faculty, administration, potential employers, graduate school admission’s officers, and other students.

All students should make sure that they have the appropriate privacy settings, the things they are posting are respectful, and that they are careful not to allow other people to log in or manage their account on their behalf. Also, they must make sure that they follow the rules of any social media outlets that they are using.

Benefit of An Attorney

A person that has been accused of misuse of social media should contact a student defense lawyer because, depending on the allegation, there could be criminal implications. It is easy to get sucked into the online world and forget that the things put on social media can be forwarded, copied, and accessible long after it is even removed from social media.

Even things that a person may think are innocuous but upset somebody could lead to future charges against the individual if they fall within any kind of activity under Virginia law.

If a student is contacted regarding some kind of social media policy violation, they should contact a civil defense attorney because they need to know two things. The first is whether their conduct would lead to administrative sanctions or potential suspension or expulsion from their school, and the second is whether there could be any criminal liability based on their actions, how they affected other people, and how they are interpreted under the code of Virginia.

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