With advancements in technology it has become much easier to gain access to information. The internet provides all the answers an enquiring mind could fathom with sights available to us such as Google, Wikipedia and other search engines.
Personal information too, is much easier to get hold of as an increasing amount of people use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. These sites allow you to build up a profile, in which you can share pictures and tell the virtual world about your likes and dislikes. Sensitive information such as your contact details and address can also be shared.
With the viral popularity of these sites and the growing culture of sharing information many adverse unintentional side-effects such as privacy rights being infringed are in danger of happening. If an individual had a personal interest in gaining information about someone all that would be needed, would be to check their Facebook and Twitter accounts. You could view their address, then even view where they lived via Google Maps.
Some see the easiness of viewing someone's personal information as being dangerous and immoral, however it can be controlled by the user as they could choose not to “share” that information in the first place.
What if, though, the social networks themselves share user information, which users deem private, and also in breach of their privacy?
There are many recent cases of users feeling that information they deem private are displayed by social networks, who are constantly changing their privacy policies. Instagram caused concern with it's users, when it was highlighted that recent privacy changes gave the site the right to use user images in advertisements and other marketing campaigns.
Facebook has also caused controversy by its constant privacy changes. Users feel that the site should give them complete control over their account and these settings. A recent allegation made against the company was that it was scanning personal messages between users to equate conversation with page “likes”. The company has an increasingly distinct style in advertising certain brands and has adopted an aggressive manner of two steps forward, one step back. Facebook has also modified their “likes” application whereby it is now displayed publicly when a user likes a certain brand.
In marketing experts' opinion, the company, naively acts first thinking about the consequences later, leaving users confused by the constant privacy changes.
Though the positives heavily outweigh the negatives when it comes to Facebook, it has changed from just being a social networking site. To that of corporations being the users, with us being Facebook's product.
Thank you Baden - very relevant information for all social media users.
Yes I agree with you Sylvia, I learnt a few valuable things too when researching this topic