Social Network: Facebook

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INTRODUCTION: FACEBOOK WEBSITE
When a student enters their first year of college, the first thing they do is created a profile of themselves on Facebook. Students try to network with students in the same university, so that they will be able to get to know people at their university. Facebook users try to provide information about them, so others, who have similar interest, may become friends with them. But sometimes, Facebook users provide too much information and don’t protect their information, using the privacy controls. This can harm Facebook users because strangers can have access to their information. Strangers invading Facebook user’s privacy has become an issue on Facebook.

Purpose of Study
The purpose of this study is to recommend strategies for protecting private information on a social network called Facebook. This report will (1) look at the types of private information that are on the Facebook, and the privacy control settings. This report will (2) then investigate privacy issues and criticism of Facebook and (3) examine at how knowledgeable Facebook users are to the potential risks of releasing private information and if users are changing their privacy settings. This report will focus on Facebook users’ awareness of privacy issues by looking at a survey done by the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. I chose this topic because I have had privacy issues and I know friends on Facebook who have the same problem. This topic will benefit people at UWM, as well as all Facebook users because they probably have problems with privacy invasion or know someone who has problems with privacy protection on Facebook. My goal is to inform Facebook users about the privacy issues so that they will change their privacy settings and also recommend ways to protect their privacy.

Significance of Study
This study is significant because there are many Facebook users who are college students. Although some may know about the privacy issues, not many will do something about it until their private information gets invaded. It is important for Facebook users to protect their information before it is too late.

Scope of Study
In this report, I will look at the Facebook profile and talk about the privacy settings. Then, I will look at past and present privacy issues within Facebook. I will use an existing survey done by the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, to give statistics on how aware Facebook users are about privacy issues on Facebook. After, I will give steps on protecting ones profile and draw conclusions from the study done and give recommendations to Facebook users.

Organization
The roadmap of the research is as follows: First, the report will give background information about Facebook. Then, the report will talk about the Facebook Profile and privacy setting controls. The report will also examine the criticisms of Facebook in the past and present. After, the report will examine a study done by the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. Then, the report will interpret the finding about user’s privacy awareness. Lastly, the report will provide steps to protect private information and draw conclusions and give recommendations to Facebook users.

Sources and Methods
For this report, I used all secondary sources. I found my information in the library’s databases. The main databases that I look at were ABI/Inform, LexisNexis Academic, and Ebsco host. I also used articles from the New York Times online to find information. I used the Facebook privacy section to find out about the privacy controls on their website and for background information.

BACKGROUND
According to the Facebook website, Facebook was founded on February 2004 by Mark Zuckerburg, in his college dorm room at Harvard University (www.facebook.com). Facebook has become one of the largest social-network website. Facebook has more than 500 million active users who spend over 700 billion minutes per month, according to the...
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