First, we must define privacy.
As Danah Boyd (who is an academic and researches a lot in social media and privacy) notes, privacy “is a feeling that people have when they feel as though they have two important things: one) being in control over their social situation; and two) being enough agency to assert control”. As a result, having control of one’s personal information is vital!
In general, privacy issues can be thought of in two related senses: social privacy and data privacy. Social privacy is most obviously relevant to social networks. Does anyone here have a Facebook or twitter? Okay, thanks.
As of the end of 2012, there were 901 million active Facebook users. Micro-blogging site Twitter has 140 million users, while MySpace, formerly the most popular social networking site, still has about 25 million users. On each of these sites, as well as other sites such as YouTube, and LinkedIn, there are a number of ways for privacy to be compromised and invaded.
Invasion of privacy is a common legal action. U.S. law has recognized what is essentially every person's right to be left alone. Media outlets can't freely invade a person's privacy by: First: Disclosing private or privileged facts -- for example, releasing details from your full birth date, phone numbers, email and physical addresses to several corporations without your permission. Second: Intrusion -- for example, hacking into your computer by using tools and techniques such as cookies, web bugs, third party applications, and spyware to access your data, and then sell your data as a commodity to the corporations.
I will use the rest of my time to explain how Facebook violates their contract with users, and therefore, why our privacy is in fact invaded by using Facebook (and social media generally).
First, Facebook users do not give up all their rights to privacy, and users are given the right to "control how [their...