Facebook Privacy

Topics: Facebook, Social network service, Privacy Pages: 8 (2555 words) Published: May 1, 2013
Facebook Privacy: Policy or the Person
Research Paper


In the past few decades, modern technology has become more influential and life changing with each year that passes. As a people we find ourselves in what some call, “the digital age” with the advances of technology that have improved the way we interact with one another. In the film “The Social Network,” we are introduced to the beginning of the worldwide phenomenon of “Facebook,” and the impact that it has had on our world. But with any great phenomenon comes the downside, in this case, privacy issues has been the main problem. Most of Facebook’s privacy problems are the result of neither incompetence nor malice; instead, they’re natural consequences of the ways that people enthusiastically use Facebook. Who’s to blame though, the policy or the person?

Facebook Defined

Facebook was founded in 2004 by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg and originally called thefacebook. It was quickly successful on campus and expanded beyond Harvard into other Ivy League schools. With the phenomenon growing in popularity, Zuckerberg enlisted two other students, Duston Moskovitz and Chris Hughes, to assist. Within months, thefacebook became a nationwide college networking website. Zuckerberg and Moskovitz left Harvard to run thefacebook full time shortly after taking the site national. In August of 2005, thefacebook was renamed Facebook, and the domain was purchased for a reported $200,000 US Dollars (USD). At that time, it was only available to schools, universities, organizations, and companies within English speaking countries, but has since expanded to include anyone. Facebook users create a profile page that shows their friends and networks information about themselves. The choice to include a profile in a network means that everyone within that network can view the profile. The profile typically includes the following: Information, Status, Friends, Friends in Other Networks, Photos, Notes, Groups, and The Wall. Users are able to search for friends and acquaintances by e-mail address, school, university, or just by typing in a name or location for search. When people become friends, they are able to see all of each others' profiles including contact information. E-mail notifications let users know when new friends have chosen to add them to their list or when someone has sent a message to them within the system. A popular feature on Facebook is the ability to share photographs uploaded from a phone, camera, or hard drive. As with other private information, users have the option to allow only friends to see their pictures or anyone. There is an unlimited amount of storage available, which is a major advantage of Facebook's photograph sharing capabilities. Users of Facebook can share news stories, video, and other files with friends. Most news and video websites have buttons that can be clicked to automatically share the story or video on a feed. The person sharing can make comments about the shared item that their friends will see. Facebook has seen outstanding growth since its inception and is poised to maintain its dominance in social networking. Social Dynamics

The social dynamics of social network sites do more than just give people a reason to use them notwithstanding the privacy risks. They also cause people to misunderstand those risks (Grimmelmann, Saving Facebook, 2009). People rely heavily on informal signals to help them envision their audience and their relationship to it. Facebook systematically delivers signals suggesting an intimate, confidential, and safe setting. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these signals are the same ones that make it such a natural place for socializing. People don’t think about privacy risks in the way that perfectly rational automata would. Instead, real people use all sorts of simplifying heuristics when they think about risk, some psychological (Wilson, 2012).

Privacy Risks
Facebook knows an immense amount of information...
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