Friday, November 20, 2009

Losing Benefits over Facebook

CBC News is reporting that a depressed woman (from Quebec, Canada), has lost her long-term sick leave insurance benefits over some Facebook photos.  According to CBC, Manulife (the insurance company) saw some pictures of Nathalie blanchard posted on her Facebook account that showed her at the beach and at a bar, and thus decided that Nathalie was fit to work and ended her insurance benefits.

It seems pretty straight forward that if your insurance company catches you on the beach when you are on sick leave you would lose your benefits.  But, what make this story different is that Nathalie  suffers from Depression which lead to here sick leave, and was thus advised by those treating her to go to the beach and to go hang out at bars, etc. to help treat her depression. So I have to wonder how Manulife at arm length would have been able to declare her cured of her depression by looking at photos of her on Facebook.

Another point of concern with this story is that Nathalie’s Facebook account is locked and is only accessible by people that she friends.  How would Manulife be able to get to her Facebook page without her approval?  It appears that the protections that Facebook is using to keep your account private aren’t so strong after all.  At lest not for insurance companies.

I hope this women gets her benefits back.  Companies shouldn’t be diagnosing people’s mental state through their pictures on Facebook.

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