In the last year alone, employees of at least 18 nursing homes and assisted living facilities have posted unauthorized — and in some cases, vulgar and stomach-turning — photos and videos of residents on Snapchat or other social media platforms, according to a ProPublica analysis published by the Des Moines Register.
Six incidents were in Iowa, which has put a greater focus on identifying such cases. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has called upon Snapchat and other social media companies to do more to stop the problem.
The new cases bring to 65 the number of instances identified by ProPublica since 2012 of inappropriate social media posts by employees of long-term care facilities. Most involve Snapchat, a social media service in which photos appear for a few seconds and then disappear with no lasting record. Photos have also been posted on Facebook and Instagram. ProPublica has been tracking this issue since 2015.
While the problem isn’t new, the pace of reported incidents has certainly picked up — and it’s not clear why. It could be that there’s heightened vigilance among regulators and nursing homes, leading to more reports. Last August, federal health regulators said they would crack down on nursing home employees who take demeaning photographs and videos of residents and post them on social media. Another possibility is that the problem is actually getting worse as more and more people use social media apps on their cellphones.
Read the full report here.
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