Over the past decade, there’s been a boom in the creation and use of social media sites. Users input plenty of personal information, with the idea that all private data is protected. As the Internet continues to evolve, many people are now worried about social media privacy issues.
While focusing on the level of privacy with social media networking services, this would include the storage and re-purposing of data, as well as the display of information and provision to third parties. With so much data being stored, security and privacy issues have become a major concern. Nobody wants their private information available to the public and here are the reasons why social media is creating fear.
- Default settings – Although you may have taken action to secure your privacy settings in the past, on platforms such as Facebook, each update results in the default settings to be restored. Meaning, you may be displaying more information than you’d like.
- Sharing data with third parties – When using applications through Facebook, such as Quiz Planet or Farmville, your information is often shared with tracking companies and advertisers. When sharing this information, companies often have access to the user’s identity.
- Concern from institutions – The lack of privacy on various social media sites has been a key concern for a number of institutions, including libraries, schools, and Government agencies. In fact, many libraries have argued that the lack of privacy on these networks, contradicts their ethics. When organizations begin to raise their concerns, this can support fear amongst the public.
- Identity theft – When so much information is available, many have concerns that their personal data could be used to provide their social security number. A 2009 study, showed that it was possible to gain access to this 9-digit number through online databases and social media. Once someone has access to this information, they can essentially steal your identity.
- Predators – Unfortunately, sexual predators use social media as a way to find potential victims. Although the number of cases are fairly low, they appear to be increasing, with incidents now occurring on an almost weekly basis. Parents are often concerned for their children, especially because there tends to be a lack of age verification.
- Stalking – Although you have the freedom to create friend lists, social networking can lead to online stalking. In some cases, individuals aren’t even aware that they’re being stalked. Well over half of Facebook users have their profiles set to public, meaning almost anyone can search their name and bring up their profile.
- Employment – Employers are now using social media to search for potential candidates. Many users do not realize the impact that social media can have on their professional career and reputation. From inappropriate photographs to poor communication skills, your profile can tell employers a lot. Use social media to your advantage, building a positive portfolio.
- Victimization – Especially common amongst teens and adolescents, some individuals exhibit undesired behavior, impacting the online experiences of others. Classic examples of this are sexual advances and harassment. To avoid these individuals, tighten your privacy settings.
- Surveillance – Every move you make online, leaves a cyber footprint. When it comes to many social network applications, data is being collected and used by a number of private companies. Facebook has been described as a “behavioral laboratory” – creating major ethical concerns.
- Location awareness – With social media platforms that allow you to check-in, you can share information regarding your current whereabouts. Location privacy is essential, so ensure that your settings are up-to-date and that you fully understand the level of protection regarding location privacy.
Wikipedia. (2015). Privacy concerns with social networking. Retrieved on January 15th, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privacy_concerns_with_social_networking_services#Causation