These questions must have occupied almost everyone’s head at least once and it is not out of nowhere. Social networking sites have several privacy gaps that may be a threat for the personal privacy of users. First of all, the most important issue is who receives the information given. Some of the users take precautions by limiting access to their pages. However, “It has been revealed by Ryan Sell that the privacy policies are not as strict as the users think they are. For example, on Backbone, users are can be found on searches based on religion, sexual orientation or relationship status” (2007).
This situation results In strangers getting information and it may even lead to stalking. It is a big issue when the user thinks that the page is only visible too certain group of people. In some cases, the owner of the page may not want to be reached by some people like his/her teachers, parents, employers, or employees. Furthermore some sites are claimed to be sharing the information with the third party aggressors like advertisers. For Instance, according to Kate Gladden’s article “Twitter has archived every tweet and has agreed a deal allowing the UK-based company Dataset to trawl through all those ousted since January 2010.
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The company will use the information to help firms with marketing campaigns and target influential users” (2012). It means that all the ideas that are tweeted, even if the tweets are private, are a part off huge survey. This way, companies get information about the common interests, views about products for free. Simply, Twitter Is making profit by selling Its users’ opinions. And It is not Twitter only. According to a study, 56% of the 120 popular sites 75% If the user Ids included, directly leak sensitive and identifiable information to third-party aggregates (Christianity, Anarchy’s & Wills, ND).
Trade of personal information is so common that it reveals the doubt that no information is safe between the site and user and these incidents undermine the trustworthiness of the social networking sites. Unintentional information sharing is another problem on this Issue. Sometimes merged or linked sites may cause It by sharing the profile Information without requesting permission of the user. In some cases smaller sites, compared to Backbone, Twitter, etc. , use these sites as an information database in order to grow.
For example if one signs up on Goddess, with the same e-mail address, the site automatically finds the Backbone friends and adds them as Goddess friends. The aim is probably to have more active users but it makes the social media look like a creature hungry for Information. On the other side, so many sites that users are being active in and it can be a drudgery to remember all the user names and passwords so the social networking sites developed a solution called single access sign on. It helps the users to sign on smaller sites compared to Backbone, Twitter, etc. , by using their Backbone or Twitter accounts.
At first sight, it is harmless application with benefits but the more the user links the sites to each other the harder it is to protect the information given in the first place. For example f one has used the Backbone account to sign on gag, not only the comments he/she made, post he/she liked are visible to Backbone friends but also his/her personal Information is reachable by the gag users. Some may claim that information sharing is not a problem unless one is up to something unethical or illegal. However, this claim is superficial because there are several cases that unfair information acquisition may be a threat for users.
First of all, users may be accused for their claims. Their professional life may be affected. It is quite often that employers look up online to the candidates before the interview. Some of the information they find such as unprofessional photographs, may prevent the candidate from getting the Job. Also, there have been lots of firing Incidents because of “inappropriate” social media actions. For instance, “Thirteen cabin crew staff have been sacked by Virgin Atlantic over their use of a social networking website, it has emerged. The airline said the crew’s behavior “brought the company into disrepute” (BBC News, 2008).
The idea that the employees represent the firm is putting the employees under pressure and the fact that personal information on the social networking sites will not be stay private, is a real problem for these people. Secondly, there are some sites which the first aim is to have fun such as gag, Hugely, Reedit or Achaean. People posting or commenting on these sites may be anonymous and the anonymity brings mockery. Those people who would not make fun of with others in person, become bullies on Hess sites and disclosure of “dummy’ people become more and more common in the name of entertainment.
Their photos, videos, status updates or tweets which are ‘funny’ are posted on these sites without permission. Furthermore, it is nearly impossible to make the site operators remove these posts because there is not any rule or regulations to prevent unjust treatment. To conclude, violation of social network privacy policies or gaps in them exist and they are not only unethical but constitute several problems mentioned above. To overcome these problems, both he users and the operators of the sites must realize that the consequences are serious.