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Nov 23, 2009

Woman loses benefits because of Facebook photos

In the new social media era we live in, people are always flooded with warnings about what they post on the internet. MTV is filled with public service adverts warning young women about the dangers of sending revealing pictures and graduating high school students are warned about how pictures on their Myspace of them lighting up marijuana can affect their future job searches. But a 29-year-old woman in Canada has lost her medical benefits because of some untimely Facebook pictures.

Nathalie Blanchard, a 29-year-old IBM employee hailing from Bromont, Quebec, Canada has been on sick leave from her job after she was diagnosed with ‘Major Depression’. She was on leave from her position for over a year and a half, as she received sick leave employement checks from ‘Manulife’, the insurance provider.

Then, the checks stopped coming this fall. When Blanchard called the insurance company, they told her that her Facebook pictures told her she was well enough to return to work, she told the CBC.

The insurance agent was even able to describe exact pictures from Blanchard’s Facebook profile, reportedly ones of her having fun at a bar and another of her on a sunny beach somewhere tropical.

Blanchard’s reply is that her doctor advised her to get out and have fun as she tried to cope with her depression. She is also concerned how Manulife got access to her Facebook pictures since her profile is set to private. Ms. Blanchard obviously doesn’t know that any Facebook picture can be viewed by anybody, if they sent the direct URL to view the picture.

When the CBC contacted Manulife, the insurance provider, they said they would never cancel benefits based on just a few apt Facebook pictures, but they did confirm that they use Facebook as a source of investigating insurance fraud.

Ms. Blanchard has hired a lawyer and appears to be preparing to press legal action against the insurance company. She claims to have lost thousands of dollars since Manulife canceled her benefits.

Original Article HERE!

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