BELCONNEN, Australia, April 2. IN response to some photos being posted on Stephanie Rice's Facebook profile, Swimming Australia has cracked down on its team members and their own Facebook profiles.
Swimmers in Australia have been informed to change their profiles to the most private settings possible on Facebook, as well as take down images of a questionable nature.
"It's something we had counseled them on in the past two years to be careful of," Swimming Australia media director Ian Hanson told the Daily Telegraph. "Some of the photos were somewhat distasteful and we thought it was best that they took a bit more care."
In this Internet-world where privacy is almost non-existent for someone in the public eye like a swimmer, Swimming World does suggest that people should take every necessary step to secure their own privacy wherever possible. As anyone on Facebook knows, even the most strict privacy settings can still allow images or information to make their way into the public's hands. Facebook's own information gathering technology makes it increasingly easy to know exactly what is going on with selected friends.
However, for a governing body to step into the private lives of its athletes in such a way is a bit overboard. While Swimming World understands that Swimming Australia is working towards building a squeaky clean image, Rice's pictures are pretty tame. The swimmers involved are in the prime stage of their outwardly-social lives, and look to be having a fairly innocent costume party, which is standard fare for swimmers across the world.
Long story short, swimmers – take precautionary online measures to protect your privacy; national bodies – let the young adults be just that, young adults with their own lives.