Privacy amongst Social Media Companies Is Not the Case Anymore

 

Social media has completely revolutionized the world today.  Nowadays, almost everyone uses some form of social media. An astonishing statistic is that 98% of 18-24 year olds utilize social media! Can you believe that Facebook has over 1.2 billion users worldwide? To think how much influence they have over the social media business is astonishing. Alongside, there are nearly 800 million active users on YouTube that spend over 15 minutes watching pointless videos every day. Other social media websites, such as Twitter have grown stronger and larger; there is over 190 million tweets happening per day, which are nearly 120 thousand tweets sent per second! Another big social media site taking over is Instagram; according to some stats, there are well over 5 million pictures uploaded to Instagram every hour.

It is becoming evident that social media is taking over. On a day to day basis, people will notice it in advertisements, television, articles etc.

But with all these various kinds of social media and our information being put out into cyberspace, how much of our information is publically displayed? What is private? Should we be concerned about our privacy online? Is utilizing social media safe?

Our information is not private

There are many problems with social media, but amongst the biggest of concerns is without a doubt, privacy. A lot of the privacy policies implemented are flawed, and generally give away our personal information. Social media websites add so many features and functionality to their sites, that privacy is completely ignored. For example, a few sites use a single – access sign on system to access multiple sites. With this in effect, there is no longer the need to sign in and use your password again. With single access becoming more common, it is evident that the sites allowing this have the ability to share your info with other sites. Ultimately, info on everything that you do will be appearing on random websites that you are not even aware of.  Evidently, ads pop up on you all the time, whether it is a tweet, a shared post or an image, ads play a big role in social media. If you read in between the lines (I.e. the privacy policy), it clearly allows other 3rd party applications to gain access on your information. This is a huge concern. Even though we have the capability to deny access, does anyone even try to stop it? A lot of the time, the privacy policy changes without the user even being informed. Does anyone actually read and trust the privacy policy? I know I Don’t. A huge nightmare with social networking is that they are able to track our every move. Location based services are highly risky as they expose people’s privacy greatly. If you allow this service, at any point, your current address is exposed to everyone! It is very important that individuals take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against this threat. As social media advances, there has to be more security implemented in their privacy policies.

Facebook

Facebook has many flaws in terms of privacy. Since the beginning of the company, they’ve done stupid things with the website that jeopardizes our privacy. Facebook’s privacy policy can sell your info to third parties. Can you believe that? Back in 2012, there was a problem with Facebook’s security settings, where old private messages were being leaked onto public timelines. If you have nothing to hide, then there should not be a problem. Facebook has had a long history of privacy flaws ever since the company started as “The Facebook” in 2004. When newsfeed was launched, users were not able to control who could see their updates; now that was a problem. Later on, Facebook had launched Beacon. Beacon was an ad system that tracked users every move and what they purchased on their partner’s websites. They’ve have had privacy issues starting from sharing information as the default setting to having users promote ads without their consent, simply because they hit the “like” button on a product or picture. Facebook claims that “individual user date is not shared between Facebook and advertisers”, but that is completely false.

Twitter

Millions of people use Twitter every day, and a lot of tweets go through. If you use twitter, I’m 100% sure that you have seen at least one person send you a direct message with a link. These links are third party applications that have gained unauthorized access to your personal data and send others a link, with the attempt to also gain their data. This is a flaw with Twitter’s permissions and how the user grants third party apps to gain access without them even knowing. When these apps gain access, Twitter has no way of informing the user that their info has been breached.  A controversial issue came up during 2012, when a website began publishing users home addresses online. That is a scary thought, as your privacy is affected greatly. Twitter utilizes a location based system when users tweet, however this website was able to trace this back to their home address and even provide a street view image of their home. Location based services should inform the user when they are being tracked. In this sense, Twitter needs improvement when it comes to alerting users about security issues when their own privacy is being compromised.

Instagram

Instagram is becoming a popular app to use, where millions of people post pictures of themselves daily. This popular photo sharing app changes its privacy policy regularly. Basically what their new privacy policy states is that “Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”. Now that is a violation of our privacy as third party applications are allowed access to our photos and we would not even know about it! Furthermore, Instagram joined forces with Facebook, instead of your photos being hosted on an amazon web server; they’ll be hosted on Facebook servers. If you don’t want Instagram to share your photos to Facebook, then you can simply delete your account. If Instagram wants to keep their current number of members, they should work on their privacy issues if they do not want to incur any losses.

The Sites listed above are only a few of the many that actually exist. Other social sites include:

  • Myspace
  • LinkedIN
  • Google Plus
  • Four square
  • Skype
  • Cinemagram
  • Pheeds
  • Youtube etc.

 

To conclude, Social media is having a huge impact on society. However, privacy is getting harder to keep as companies are able to get your information due to flawed privacy policies. We must be aware of this and be careful with what we put out there on the cyber net.

 

 

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s