Facebook Ethics

Topics: Facebook, Privacy, Social network service Pages: 8 (3267 words) Published: April 23, 2012
The Ethics of Facebook
The creation of social media websites as a gateway to advertising, playing games, and meeting people all over the world sounded like an awesome tool for the modern world; but with the good comes the bad. When anybody conducts a search for social media the first website one will find is Facebook. Facebook is by far the most popular social media outlet for people all over the world. For people aged 13 and above, as long as you have a valid e-mail address signing up can by the easiest task to accomplish. With the total number of users growing over 700 million in three years any company would have to hustle to accommodate the rapid increase in customers (or in Facebook’s case, users) and in order to perfect a privacy policy it would take a considerable amount of time and man power. “Facebook tended to make the default setting maximum exposure, putting the burden on users to "scramble for cover" and attempt to navigate confusing privacy controls to restrict access to their information.” (Vinson, 2010, p.364) Based on the growing number of ethical issues involving the privacy policy; it needs to be refurbished to accommodate both the growing number of users and the range in age groups on Facebook. Ethics does not play a role in Facebook’s privacy policy. Facebook was originally created by Mark Zuckerberg, but did not start off using the Facebook name; it was called Facemash and had a rather ominous start. When Zuckerberg was a sophomore at Harvard he wanted to start a website that used photo’s from the school’s nine houses. In order to launch this site Zuckerberg hacked into Harvard’s private computer network and copied the houses private dormitory identification images. Before getting caught and the site shut down, Facemash was able to get 450 visitors and over 22,000 photo views in the first few hours of the sites original launch. Once the Harvard administration knew what Zuckerberg had done, they immediately shut down the site and Zuckerberg was charged with breach of security, violating copyrights, and violating student’s privacy on top of facing expulsion. However, to add to the success story of Zuckerberg, the charges were later all dropped. The next semester Zuckerberg began to write code for a new revolution in social media, better known as The Facebook, which launched in February 2004 strictly for students at Harvard College. After only a few months, The Facebook expanded to include all underclassmen at Harvard, then Stanford, Columbia, and Yale. Its popularity eventually worked its way to other Ivy League schools and then to most universities in the United States and Canada. Facebook was later incorporated in 2004, received its first investment from PayPal co-founder Peter Theil, and moved to a new home office in Palo Alto, California, pretty much becoming an over-night success. In 2005, The Facebook officially became Facebook by dropping The from its name and purchasing the domain name for $200,000. Around September of 2005 Facebook launched a high school version which required an invitation to join. Also in 2005, Facebook allowed the membership to certain employees at companies such as Apple and Microsoft, and then finally, in September of 2006, anybody aged 13 years or older with a valid e-mail address could make a Facebook account. Facebook has also just recently filed for an initial public offering which means that they will be selling stock to the public in the stock market. Today, millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, make new ones, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet. With such a large number of users, which continues to grow, and a creator that we know has already broken privacy laws himself by hacking into a school database; the users need to know that they are 100% safe with Facebook’s privacy policy so that they are not just victims of cyber crimes or any random...
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