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Privacy and Social Networks Essay

The era of publicizes Bad AY Karri Sales Iceland American university of Share DRP. Shawl Aimed Summer 2012 Social Networks and Privacy: The Era of Publicizes “Privacy seems to encompass everything, and therefore it appears to be nothing in Itself’ (Solve, 2008, p. 7). It Is an oversimplification to define privacy as all what an Individual owns. With the evolution of new technologies nowadays, It Is very hard to define privacy because it varies from one person to another and from one culture to another (Solve, 2008).

With the rise of social networks during the last decade, new sews about privacy started to emerge due to its special mechanism in sharing information. Social networks enable users to instantly share information, thoughts, photos, products and videos with the many users In the network at once. Unlike other means of communication, the Information In social networks can spread to hundreds users In seconds.

Then, the users who received the Information may share it among their network, and then further to other networks, which will end up in spreading the information to millions of people in no time, Just like a chain reaction. This new mechanism of sharing, which is becoming faster every day, raised new concerns about privacy among individuals and organizations. In spite of all these concerns about the personal privacy on the social networks, social networks websites are the most visited websites In the Internet. For example, Faceable has reached 901 million monthly active users In April, 2012 (Washman, 2012).

Although social networks enables an easy sharing of private information about individuals or low profile information about organizations, individuals and organization should not be afraid of sing social networks due to privacy concerns, and instead they should be more public and utilize the social network. Being public and open to the world Is better than being private and closed because It enables people to learn from others personal experience. Naturally, any individual or organization benefits from communicating with others.

Nevertheless, communication with others, regardless of the mean of communication, usually involves giving away some private information to the other. However, social networks empowered the world a new mean of communication that benefits all the users in he network by sharing private Information. For example, an individual can share some previous experiences such as overcoming an Illness, eating habit, or making a project. Being afraid of sharing experience, because of privacy, would only deprive others from benefit of these experiences.

According to Taproots (2012): Fully 20 percent of all patients with the fatal disease ALAS share intimate information about their treatment and condition on the network Potentialities. Com. And tens of thousands of others with rare diseases who use that website report that sharing has helped them better manage their illness (‘1 10). Because the social network enabled Information, they supported each others with valuable information about their disease and inspired each others with their experience. Social networks enhanced collaboration, which in return brings benefits to all individuals, at the cost of personal information.

Some may argue that because of posting private information on social networks, some employee may suffer from being fired from or being denied for a Job. In other words, social networks negatively affect employment because they allow the employers or managers to access an employee’s or a Job applicant’s private data. For example, Andrews (2012) states in her book that a high school teacher, called Ashley Payne, was asked to resign because she uploaded a photo of her on Faceable drinking an alcoholic drink even though it is legal to drink in her country.

She also claims that employers “will not hire someone whose Faceable page includes photo of that person drinking or in provocative dress” (p. 122). However, the information on social networks could not be used against an employee or a Job applicant because it is considered unethical and illegal. First, it is unethical to Judge a worker from the arsenal aspects rather than working skills. Besides, Jarvis (2011) defines privacy as ‘the ethics of knowing” and publicizes as “the ethics of sharing” (p. 110). Therefore, it depends how the individual interpret others information.

On the other hand, employers can also look into a Job applicant’s profile in a social network to see his/her previous experience in work. Second, it is illegal to make decision on an employee or Job applicant based on social networks personal information. Furthermore, this act is considered discrimination and the company can be sued for this action (Warning & Buchanan, 2010). Therefore, employees and Job applicants should not be afraid of posting information in social networks. Social network is a safe place to share private information with others.

The main issue is that private data on the social network is accessible anytime and anywhere. Without a doubt, the privacy of individual’s profile data in the social network should be protected to make the network a safer place for sharing. Therefore, many social networks provide powerful tools to control the access on private information. First, social networks do not grant access to other users profile data anonymously. In order to access any data even if it is public, the individual needs gain the social networks trust by registering an account in the social network.

This enables the social network administration control over the social network. Second, the user can choose who is able to view his/her profile private information and what information others can see. For instance, the user can block accounts, specify groups and set privileges. Third, social networks also provide a help center to report abuse of the services such as spamming, bullying or hateful speeches. The social network administration can stop any account ornamental or even take legal action if an individual is reported abusing others privacy.

Finally, most social networks provide a parental control to help parents control how their children use the social network. Since social networks rely on the trust between the users, these tools does not only make a social network a safer place, but also trustworthy. Richter and PepsiCo (2011) performed a research to show the transitivity of trust in social networks. They found out that people decide who to trust based on other peers who trust. To emphasize this to the topic, users trust only pacific users over their private information and thus they trust the social network. Edition, trustworthiness implies a social network safety, which in return means users being more comfortable sharing their information using the social network. For example, one of the reasons that made Faceable the most successful social network IS the trustworthy of the users. According to Jadedness (2006, as cited in Vogel & Manmade, 2009), because Faceable was only restricted for students, the users felt safer to share data through the social network. Nowadays, Faceable is open to the public, but they are very strict in term of network safety.

In fact, Fusel’s and Nomad’s 2009) research statistics showed that “those who had social networking profiles had significantly greater mean scores… Indicating that they believed Faceable is a more trustworthy social network” (p. 175). For any social network to be successful, the social network has to maintain the trust of their users through the safety of the social network. Therefore, social networks are trustworthy over the users’ private in the social network. Despite of these control tools, some may argue that social networks still a potential threat to the users’ privacy.

For instance, many believe that social outworks made a fertile ground for identity theft and stalking. People usually fear the technology; because social networks are also considered one of them, every possible problem falls under the umbrella of privacy concerns on social networks. Privacy, however, is not only controlling the data access, but also controlling how it is used or interpreted (Boyd, 2010). Let us discuss these problems one by one. First, identity theft occurs when someone steals someone’s secret information and pretending to be that person.

According to Jarvis, “[the identity theft issue] is less an issue of privacy than larceny’ (2011, p. 96). Assuming it is an issue of privacy, suppose someone hacked someone else’s account or page on a social network, thus accessing or using the victim’s information. Should this be considered the social network fault? Rhea user, the victim, probably did not take security precautions to protect what he/ she considered a private data. Additionally, the social network provides tools to retrieve, to report or to suspend a stolen account. Second, stalking is obsessively observing an individual’s behavior or information.

Unfortunately, stalking can mostly be from those who have access to the profile information such as friends and reworked. However, it still depends on how they interpret the information. For example, if someone knew that his friend is getting divorced, he decides whether to support him, help him, or stand against him. Social networks’ databases do not only contain data about their users, but also how the users interactions with the social networks and other users. Therefore, the data in social networks are very valuable as some refers to it as “the new oil”.

Social networks use these data, through data mining, to improve its services and to gain revenue. Most social networks gain revenue from targeted advertising. For example, if a user often reads about cars, or “rites posts related cars, the data mining system is going to assume this user is Interested in cars. Therefore, the social network shows that user advertisements related to cars within the user’s living area. Social networks created a new marketing option that helps the companies to expand their production and services (Andresen, 2011).

On the other hand, data mining and targeted advertisement raises new privacy concern in social networks. For example, some users may feel uncomfortable En these advertisements are based on some information that were marked as arrested advertising does not violate privacy laws or ethics. According to Seltzer research in data mining ethics (2005) “like most statistical methodologies data mining by itself is ethically neutral” (p. 1441). This is mainly because the data mining process IS carried on by computer programs, which will not interact with these data the way a human would.

They will not develop any Judgment or feelings about the user no matter how sensitive the data is. Moreover, social networks provide advertisers with anonymous statistical data. In other word, advertisers do not know the identities of users in the statistics provided by the social network. In conclusion, social networks are new powerful tool for communication with the others. The data on the social networks are can easily be accessed anywhere and anytime, and therefore this created a controversial debate between privacy and the social networks.

However, being afraid of using social networks would have only deprived the benefits of using these tools. Besides, employees and Job applicants should not be afraid of using social networks because their information in social networks could not be used against them as it is considered illegal and unethical to be used against them. Nevertheless, social networks provide powerful tools to control over the user’s private Information, thus implying that the social networks are trustworthy over private information.

In sprit of all privileges control tools, many people believe that the social networks can cause problems such as identity theft and stalking. However, these problems are not necessarily due to social networks, but instead it is due to how people interpret the information in the social networks. As a result the, the user should be more careful when posting a sensitive data and think before sharing any information. Finally, because social networks databases contains tremendous amount of data, social networks created a new form of business using these data while protecting the identity of the data.

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