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Privacy and Security Issues on Social Networks

Privacy and security issues should be specially important for young people when social networking. Problems such as online reputation and privacy settings ought to be well discussed so as users have a clear idea of the consequences of the information posted. There have being several analysts working on that issues, this post is based in an article by Sonia Livingstone who explores teenagers’ practices of social networking in order to uncover the subtle connections between online opportunity and risk.

Facebook privacy settings is one of the important aspects to keep your Facebook account secure. There have been several instances of people who got their account hacked or pics, important information stolen because of poor privacy settings. While Facebook is continuously trying to provide enhanced privacy and security to it’s users, you have to be more cautious as it’s your own Facebook profile.  “It’s completely apparent to me that most people have no idea what information they are sharing and how that is being used.” Sheri Wallace House Five Rules for Responsible Social Marketing BY FC Expert Blogger David Lavenda.

But it’s not only a matter of adjusting settings, the information provided through the net should also be controlled in order to get a  appropriate online reputation. Andy Beal, one of the world’s leading experts in online reputation, assures that the bosses consult Google and Facebook to learn more about their employees: “At least once a year, They will monitor your online activity to find something that can make you redundant. Many managers become your friends in social networks to keep an eye on.” Beal is the creator of Trackur, a program that seeks identities on the Internet to find out what is being said about them. He advises:
“Go ahead and build that your reputation now, before you need it. Content about yourself that you can control, and that portrays you in a positive light” says Beal. “Give that content time to percolate and move its way around the Web.”

Although it may seem too obvious, when it comes to privacy and security issues on social networks, “the sites most likely to suffer from issues are the most popular ones,” Graham Cluley, Chief Technology Officer at UK tech security firm Sophos says.

And finally, I would like to conclude with some long quotes from Taking risky opportunities in youthful content creation

“Nonetheless, it would be mistaken to conclude that teenagers are unconcerned about their privacy. The question of what you show to others and what you keep private was often the liveliest part of the interviews, suggesting an intense interest in privacy. Teenagers described thoughtful decisions about what, how, and to whom they reveal personal information – drawing their own boundaries about what information to post and what to keep off the site, making deliberate choices that match their mode of communication (and its particular affordances) to particular communicative content.

The form young people is using social networks suggests a definition of privacy not tied to the disclosure of certain types of information but, instead, a definition centred on having control over who knows what about you (Livingstone, S. (2006). ‘Children’s Privacy Online: Experimenting with Boundaries Within and Beyond the Family’, pp. 128-144. Oxford,). Stein and Sinha (2002: 414 ‘New Global Media and Communication Policy: the Role of the State in Twenty-First Century’, London) put this formally when they defined privacy as ‘the rights of individuals to enjoy autonomy, to be left alone, and to determine whether and how information about one’s self is revealed to others’ (Stein and Sinha, 2002: 414).

The advantage of this definition is that it resolves the apparent paradox that the ‘MySpace Generation’ is both concerned about privacy and yet readily discloses personal information (Barnes, S., B. 2006, “A Privacy Paradox: Social Networking in the United States”). The point is that teenagers must and do disclose personal information in order to sustain intimacy, but they wish to be in control of how they manage this disclosure. As Giddens (1991: 94) says, ‘intimacy is the other face of privacy’. However, two problems undermine teenagers’ control over such disclosure. The first is that their notion of ‘friends’ is subtle while that of the social networking sites is, typically, binary, affording only a simple classification of contacts (e.g. for Facebook, your network vs. all networks).”

So, some the problems might arise because of the different conception of privacy.


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