Is Privacy Dead in an Age of Social Media - Doc

Added on - Dec 2019

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Is Privacy dead in the age of social mediaThe 21stcentury is known as the golden age of digital technology with social media’sat the apex. Every individual today is connected to technology in some form. Huge amount ofinformation is accessed and exchanged immensely especially thorough social media websitessuch as Google, Face book , Twitter or even app based social media such as whatsapp. Thesehave become an integral part of human lives without which the present generation may feelleft out or incomplete (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010). Amidst all this, the concern of privacyhas become a big issue. Researchers believe that privacy is almost dead in the present digitalera. Anybody accessing the social media or owning a simple smart phone has sent out hisinformation into the social media which can be used by the major social media organizationswithout the knowledge of their users. Use of third party apps ,search engines also leads toinformation being sent out into the digital media,Research has shown that social media users have increasingly started sharing theirpersonal information online. The trend has been increasing drastically over the years, givingout even sensitive information like their address, pictures, relationship status and contactnumbers which can easily be accessed (Kietzmann and, 2011). Use of social media hasshown a huge amplification with the advent of android and smart phones due to easy access.The information shared through social media can be misused and may lead to major issuesfor the users because apart from serving its purpose it is also a platform to spread hatred,gossip, harmful misinformation or abuse. Once a user’s content such as a shared video orphoto is online, it is hard to know where or how is it being used or misused unless it getsreported. Which means a humiliating photo or private information may go online and hurt thereputation of an individual which may make them feel humiliated. Identity theft have beenwidely reported online where pictures posted by users are illegally used withoutconsent ,cyber stalking ,cyber bullying and surveillance are some of the major issuesconnected to privacy in some way or the other.A term, called “Data Mining” is widely being used by social media giants likeFacebook and Twitter to access private chats and data of users to improve customer service(Gerbaudo, 2012). Such as in twitter whatever you hashtag or retweet, it could provideinformation on your interests and likes which is shared with commercial websites likeAmazon which then lead to its advertisement being flashed on your screen to grab your
attention. An excellent marketing strategy, but also a proof as to how your privacy online isalmost non-existent. Government organizations such as the FBI have been accused ofaccessing private online data and conducting mass surveillance. While it is not a crime toaccess such data, it might lead the data being used for criminal activities such as thecounterfeiting of documents and passport. The social media firms cannot generate enoughcapital to sustain themselves if they do not share their user’s data with the advertising andmarketing firms, thus it is the major source of income for them . However they are also wellaware of the rising privacy concerns that are faced by a whole lot of it’s users thus to win theconfidence of their users they have been developing various methods for securing the user’sprivacy and information from being accessed without their consent (Shirky, 2011).The online social media users should be well aware of their activities online as theyplay a major role in their own privacy. Usually the well known social media’s have a hugelist of terms and conditions than need to be accepted before the user can access and use theservices or apps of the social media which the users almost never reads. It is in thisagreement that the user allows his information to be shared and accessed by other onlinemarketing and advertising firms. Facebook , whatsapp and Quora claim to have developedcertain features such as privacy settings,encrypted chatting and anonymity features whichprotect the privacy of the user who can easily customise his information and presence online .This will not only put a control over the accessing of the user’s data , but will also help inmaintaining and regulating the user’s privacy online (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010). In spite ofseveral such features being launched , the users and privacy activists have raised concernsover the policies of the social media companies which create and edit agreement policiesconcerning them without notifying the users which puts their privacy to further risk. MarkZuckerberg , the founder of the great social media giant “Facebook”, responded to suchconcern by explaining that the loss of privacy has become a usual norm for the presentgeneration which we have acquired recently, it is normal for everyone to know what is goingon in the lives of their acquaintances which may seem worrisome but is genuinely a usualnorm.It has also been noticed that many times, topics on which the users do more browsing,they find advertisements related to that frequently (Kietzmann and, 2011). This isbecause many companies like advertising agencies, market analysts, other researchersperform the job of keeping a close watch on activities of various users. They monitor theposts and images shared by the users on social media sites from which many of the data is
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