Information Privacy in Social Media

InformationPrivacy in Social Media


Socialnetworking sites have given people the ability to connect with eachother more easily, quickly and with just a touch of a button. Ithelps to create an online relationship that does not require mucheffort to update and share information. The online networks allowpeople to build these online relations with other internet users(Andrews, 2012). They help in keeping the users information remotely,for example in their savers rather than on the user gadgets likecomputers. The social networks are very helpful in keeping in touchwith friends, creating new relations or contacts and even findingpeople with who share interests and ideas. For these reasons, thesocial network platforms have grown in popularity substantially sincethey were first introduced. Millions of people have active accountsand share information on social networks like Facebook and twitter(Trottier, 2012).

There are also varieties oftypes of social networks. This is depending on what they do or thekind of information that they allow a user to share or upload. Thereare personal networks that allow users to create a detailed profileusing their personal information. They create great emphasis onsocial relations like friendship (Lee, 2014). These systems also canuse a user’s contact list to get other online users to contact.Some of these networks include Facebook and myspace. These platformsshare the user’s information such as age, educational background,likes in terms of music and videos. Also relationship status i.e.single or married. This information is shared with the approvedcontacts. However, some selected information may be shared withindividuals that are not sanctioned contacts (Andrews, 2012).

Statusupdate networks are designed to airing information quickly andopenly. In this, these platforms allow users to post anything thenpublicize it instantaneously. An example of this system is Twitterthat focuses on providing its members with a quick and fast way ofsharing their thoughts or updates (Trottier, 2012). In addition,some networks like content sharing networks give a platform forsharing videos photos and music (Mansfield, 2012). These systemsintroduced abilities in creating personal profile creating contactsand connecting with users hence becoming social nets as well ascontent centers. Some of these networks include YouTube and Flickr.Other networks, however, are of a particular orientation. They aredesigned as other networks but are more inclined to finding peoplewith similar characteristics. The characteristics may be hobbies,educational background, regional affiliation, political views, sexualorientations and other distinguishing characters (Lee, 2014).

Hence,as seen in these networks a user shares a great deal of personalinformation. The information is informed of photo and Medias likevideos, biographic information, age, interest contacts and evengeographical location (Close, 2012). By this, it can be seen as theuser’s whole life and current activities are on the networksplatform. Sadly, the information is of interest to many people toother than friends and family (Shipley, 2014). These people can bestalkers, identity thieves, fraud artists and also corporationslooking for a competitive advantage. Corporations looking for newmarkets collect information about the consumer on these socialnetworks without the consumer’s knowledge. In addition, thecompanies dealing with social networking are collecting the consumersand theirs users information for them to personalize the network andalso sell the information to advertisers (Flynn, 2012).

The information made public bythe social networks is some time in the user’s hands. In this, theuser can be able to choose who will view what they have uploadedabout themselves. However, some information about the user may bepublic default, hence the user cannot control who will view it(Close, 2012). In addition,the privacy settings may be changed by the network without the user’sconsent hence exposing his information. In other cases, the approvedcontacts can acquire information and repost it without the originaluser permission. Hence, clearly the customer does not have anycontrol of the information once posted. Even some third-partyapplications that have been enabled access can access the users’information regardless of it being private (Mansfield, 2012).

The social webs themselves donot guarantee security for information once posted in their platformsprofile (Reynolds, 2014). This is irreguardless of is the informationwas private. A situation like this was witnessed in 2010 whenFacebook had a glitch. Unauthorized viewers were able to see privatechats of contacts. Although these forms of glitch can be easilyfixed, they pose a very great risk of information leakage (Lee,2014).

Whena user posts his /her personal information to the social network,they expect only the approved contacts to be able to access theinformation. However, this is far from the actual reality. Thepersonal information is available to both legalized and illegalentities who are online. The legal entities include, promotersinterested in personal information to have better improve theiradverts to those who are mainly most likely interested in theirproducts. In addition, the third party software developers who areinterested in personal information to create programs that interactwith users’ profiles i.e. online games (Flynn, 2012). Illegally,the entities would include identity thieves. These thieves can beable to acquire personal information about a user based on theirposts or profile. Plus, other online criminals who their sole purposeis to harass people online and infect their gadgets with viruses andmalwares (Mansfield, 2012).

Continually,government agencies also use social media platforms for surveillanceand data collection during investigations (Flynn, 2012). In this, thegovernment and even the justice department have developed materialson how to use personal profiles during investigations. All the socialnetwork platforms have cooperated with the authorities on providingpersonal information. However, the degree by which the government canaccess the information is not fully described in the private polices(Close, 2012).

Inconclusion, information once posted on the online media is out ofcontrol of the user. This is because even if deleted the informationleaves a cyber-footprint in accessible to the user. Most importantly,the information shared by a person is of prey to many internetpredators who may sometime want to steal the users’ digital life.Sometimes trick the user into purchasing a commodity or even use theinformation in research without the users consent. However, inprotecting the information one must think carefully of what they areto provide in the social media (Flynn, 2012). Read the privacysettings carefully and understand them. This will enable a person tocontrol who can access the information. In addition, be careful increating new online contacts, as one cannot be sure of who is theother side and their intentions. Although, for those who do not mindtheir information they can live a carefree life. However, those whoare keenly sensitive about their personal information old-fashionedways are still better and life will still go on without the Facebookaccount (Andrews, 2012).


Andrews, L. B. (2012). I know who you are and I saw what you did:Social networks and the death of privacy. New York: Free Press.

Close, A. (2012). Online consumer behavior: Theory and research insocial media, advertising, and e-tail. New York: Routledge.

Flynn, N. (2012). The social media handbook: Policies and bestpractices to effectively manage your organization`s social mediapresence, posts, and potential risks. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

Lee, N. (2014). Facebook nation: Total information awareness

Mansfield, H. (2012). Social media for social good: A how-to guidefor nonprofits. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Reynolds, G. W. (2014). Ethics in information technology.

Shipley, T. G., &amp Bowker, A. (2014). Investigating internetcrimes: An introduction to solving crimes in cyberspace.

Trottier, D. (2012). Social media as surveillance: Rethinkingvisibility in a converging world. Farnham, Surrey, England:Ashgate.