Are Privacy Settings Enough?

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When you join Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Path, and every other social media website, the first thing that you set up is your privacy settings. You can select what information is shown, who can search for you, what pictures can be published and so on. Essentially, you can have any information you want on your Facebook or Twitter page, but if you are a private user then only the people you allow can access that information. But is that true? These days, it does not matter what your privacy settings are. People are constantly uploading statuses, photographs, and location updates. You do not have to be directly connected on Facebook or Instagram to know what people are doing.

Nick Bilton, a writer for The New York Times, tells the story of his own trouble with media privacy. He held a dinner party with a few friends, when he received a text message from another friend who was not invited stating “Hey, I see you’re having people over. O.K. if I stop by?” How did that person know about this party? Bilton looks up from his phone to see his guests taking pictures, updating their Facebook statuses, and tweeting about the dinner party. It then dawned on Bilton that even though he was not posting any news about his small get together, his friends were. His friends could  tag him in a post, or in a picture through multiple media outlets. It occurred to Bilton that his media privacy was no longer in his control. Read the full article

Although individuals have their own personal privacy settings, it is never enough. Media is constantly keeping people up to date on what is going on around them. While friends update their Facebook, tweet about their daily activities, and Instagram pictures of their food, they can tag you in all three of these outlets. Is there even a chance to accomplish complete media privacy? I do not think so. It is sad to admit, but with the constant updating and uploading, people will be able to find ways to see what you are doing, who you are with, and where you are.

Jamie Adams

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One thought on “Are Privacy Settings Enough?

  1. This is a really interesting article you have here. It’s super important for younger generations who use Facebook and Twitter and other social media to be aware of this fragmented security system. I do however think that it is possible to “accomplish complete media privacy,” at least to a certain degree. One would just have to forgo using a Facebook/Twitter and moving to a place where there were no internet connections or people who use social media devices to communicate. Sounds like I am talking about moving to Mars, but there are a few select places on Earth where the internet really has not developed. Much of Africa, for instance, is not connected to the internet and therefore is not subject to media invasions of privacy. However, since it is almost completely unrealistic to pack up and move to a remote location in order to have full privacy and control of your own data then what can we do? I think you bring up this point in your discussion, and it is a very interesting one. Maybe the new question is how can we cope or deal with invasions of our privacy or alter how we use social media in order to maintain a certain level of privacy. Should the government get involved and set up certain standards that social media outlets must follow? Or should this be left up to the users in general? There is a matter of choice in the matter. One must decide if being on a social media website is the right thing for them. There are, believe it or not, still people out there who do not use social media! Are they better protected against media privacy infringement than those of us who use social media? I’d be interested to hear from some of those people!

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