Where is your privacy?

The development of social networking platforms not only provides connections and information sharing among users but also redefined the concept of privacy. The concept of privacy is increasingly less associated with the quantity of information released, but more intently related to what kind of information and how much information the audience can access to. In this context, privacy issues related to using social net became a controversial topic during these days.

On one hand, social networking sites are so popular nowadays. Previous research showed that about 20% of total time spent online is on social media platforms in U.S. (Emily, 2016). Regarding specific platforms, Facebook’s monthly active users in the second quarter of 2016 were up to 1.71 billion while Twitter’s were 313 million during the same period. Research by Beheshti and Makki (2013) supported that the motivation of using social media various from platform to platform. For example, LinkedIn is one of the world’s largest professional network. It attracts users to spend time on the website for the purpose of business networking. For Facebook and Twitter, the purpose of using those platforms is more for leisure (Eagleman, 2013).

Although the motivations of using social media are different, there are several similarities and potential privacy issue among these platforms. Most social platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, acquire users to upload their personal information when they sign up. The personal information includes name, gender, date of birth, nationality, previous schools, working experience, and even the address. Users volunteer to fill in personal information to make a quick connection with former friends or someone who share the same interests. Kryder represented that about 40% Facebook users do not realize that their personal information has high risk be leaked to public through simple mouse action done on social networking site. For instance, when a Facebook user posts a selfie picture taken at home with the feature location default, they may not realize how serious the consequence could be. Some people who have ulterior motives can easily locate their home address by the post (Loeffler, 2012). Even worse, many users especially those are young do not recognize the risks.

Have you ever worried about the privacy issue when you were using the social platform? Why you feel worried about it? Is there any bad thing happened to you or your friends related to privacy issue?


Emily, A. (2016). Social media engagement: the surprising facts about how much time people spend on the major social networks. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/social-media-engagement-statistics-2013-12

Beheshti, K.S., & Makki, B. (2013). Social media news: motivation, purpose and usage. International Journal of Computer Science & Information Technology, 5(2), 97-105. doi:10.5121/ijcsit.2013.5209

Eagleman, A. N. (2013). Acceptance, motivations, and usage of social media as a marketing communications tool amongst employees of sport national governing bodies. Sport Management Review, 16(4), 488.

Loeffler, C. (2012). Privacy issues in Social Media. The IP Litigator : Devoted to Intellectual Property Litigation and Enforcement, 18(5), 12.

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6 Responses to Where is your privacy?

  1. delacall says:

    I believe that our generation and the ones following behind will be inevitably connected to social media. The question is how much? Just observing people and looking at the data, we are passing more time on social media as time goes on. People force themselves to trust social media platforms, because they want to be part of it.
    The education system will inevitably have courses on limiting ourselves to social media and uploading confidential information. Or we might just get used to having our private information open to the public.

  2. pfistere says:

    Privacy is definitely an issue on social platforms. Given the fact that you can state your location, check into venues, and use GPS, unfortunately it’s a real concern. I personally have worried about privacy, but I think that because everyone seems to link whereabouts and spill information online, it seems normal and okay. For example, as a female runner, I worry about tracking when I’m out running alone. I, too, think that unfortunately, we will inevitably be linked to social media. It’s required to participate in today’s modern age. I don’t really have a solution at this point. The fact that everyone is sharing without abandon makes it tricky, definitely. Regardless, it’s important to be smart when it comes to safety, travel in groups when possible, and be prepared in case of an emergency.

  3. ruoqihao says:

    To answer your question, I do have privacy concern regarding social network and I would regularly check my privacy setting annually or more often, say half a year or when social media release new updated privacy related settings. However, those privacy settings may not be an issue to hackers who are devoted to hacking your account and releasing your information publicly. Kinda like the gated community. People who prefer to live in a gated community may have security concern and they may think that gated community is safer than single family house next to the street. But who knows. It turns out that the gate may only shut out victims instead of criminals.

  4. sunniexyy says:

    As fas as I am concerned, people have signed a contract with social media by being their users in a way. If users want to post and share content on these social platforms, they need to accept the fact they are being seen by others and exposed to the public. By enjoying the benefits and relationships brought by these platforms, they also need to get ready for the possible risks.
    However, I agree that many users do not have enough awareness of the potential risks, since it is so universal for people to share locations and personal information. Although there are possible risks, it will be unnecessary to stop sharing. What is important is to get more cautious. As for me, I only share locations when I am posting content of outside activities. If I am at home, I will not show the specific location to protect this information.

  5. bammons says:

    As you get older you realize the importance of having some type of privacy on your social media platforms. Everything isn’t for everyone but it seems as though society doesn’t think like that. I don’t think that people will start posting less on social media but what they do need to do is be cautious and careful about how much of themselves they put out to the public. My page has always been private because I’m such a private person, but it seems the goal for social media is to have the biggest following. So people are more interested in getting people to follow them even if it strangers, which shows that they don’t really care about their privacy.

  6. Mariam says:

    Great post! With the rise of technology, people become more and more vulnerable. Not only their personal information is exposed to public, but their workplace and residence as well. I think the main reason is the inability to understand the legal and complicated language on the “fine print,” or people’s reluctance to read it in the first place. Later, when various issues come up, social media sites successfully defend themselves arguing that the user agreed to the “terms and conditions” of use.