Social Media Affects Anonymity

Topics: Facebook, Identity theft, Privacy Pages: 8 (3201 words) Published: June 20, 2013
How Social Media Affects Anonymity, Security, Privacy, and Civil Liberties

10 Jan 2013

Table of Contents
I. Introduction
II. Body
a. Impacts on Anonymity
b. Impacts on Security
c. Impacts on Privacy
d. Impacts on Civil Liberties
e. Safeguarding Personal Information on Social Media Networks III. Conclusion
IV. Works Cited

Most people consider anonymity, security, privacy, and civil liberties to be valuable assets. How valuable, however, is a question that is up for debate. Further, someone from 50 years ago would think about the issue very differently than someone would today. The advancement of technology and society has drastically increased the amount of information individuals possess and has greatly improved the ease of accessing information. Knowledge can create enormous opportunities and advantages for an individual in today’s world, but this information can also be a liability. (Kizza, 2010). Social media websites are websites that allow users to interact and share information with other users. This information is stored remotely, rather than on personal computers. Social networking allows for people to stay in touch with friends that they wouldn’t otherwise keep in touch with, find people they may have not seen in many years, or people they may have never even met. Social networking sites became popular in the late 1990s, and have consistently grown since. Although there are clear benefits to social media sites, one must ask what potential risks there are as well. There are many stalkers, scam artists, identity thieves and companies that use social networking sites to collect information about users and consumers. The companies that operate the social networks are collecting information as well, to sell to advertisers and to provide personalized services (Pipes, 2012). There are several different types of social networking sites, to include personal networking sites, status update sites, location networks, content-sharing, and similar interest networking sites. Many social networking sites are actually hybrid networks, utilizing more than one of these features, but are categorized by their main focus. Personal networks, such as Facebook and MySpace, allow users to create profiles and connect with other users. These profiles offer information such as gender, age, educational and employment history, interests, pictures, music, and videos. Status update networks, such as Twitter, are focused on users disseminating information quickly, by means of short updates or “tweets.” Location networks are often tied in with other social networking sites to display one’s real-time location, either as an update viewable by the public or specifically authorized contacts. Examples of location networks include Google Latitude, Foursquare, and Brightkite. Content-sharing networks like YouTube and Flickr are networks focused on sharing photos, videos, and music with the public, while still allowing the content to be authored by a specific individual. The final type of social networking site I’ll mention is the shared-interest networking sites whose focus is allowing people with similar interests, hobbies, political affiliations, or religious views to communicate with each other. Examples of shared-interest networking sites include Goodreads and deviantART (Pipes, 2012). Each type of networking site has its own purpose, while they all share the similar interest of communicating with other people online. Just last month, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Facebook, the largest social networking site today, announced that Facebook has reached one billion users, or one-seventh of the world’s population. This large population of users comes without having any users from China, the country with a population of 1.3 billion, due to the Chinese government blocking the site. More than 166 million of these Facebook users are in...

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