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Facebook - The Question of Privacy - Essay Example

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Summary
Mark Zuckerberg believes that public is becoming the “social norm,” which his company is banking on for the future. A major change that took place recently involves users’ loss of the ability to conduct various actions in a private manner…
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Facebook - The Question of Privacy

Download file to see previous pages... Users of the Facebook website vary from individuals who post profiles with photographs and videos freely to the other end of the spectrum, those who post, but secure their profiles out of fear that their personal information is at risk (Sutherland). A contradiction exists in regards to perspectives on privacy. People want to feel safe on the Internet, going to great lengths to minimize their “cyber footprint” (Changing Ways), from removing their contact information from directories to complaining about “their houses being visible on Google Earth” (Grayling). Yet, millions of other people cannot spend a single day without Internet-access, informing the world of their every action via Twitter and updating their Facebook status with their every thought, a plethora of photographs and personal details. Perhaps the attraction is in the projection of an ideal or image rather than conveying truth (Grayling). That said, Grayling implies websites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, chat rooms, and other blog sites, may not be extinguishing users’ privacy as much as people think....
For example, users are now prompted to accept the Facebook terms and conditions when opening an application for the first time, granting the application developer access to personal contact information from the user’s personal profile. This change is geared toward one of Facebook’s largest company initiatives for 2011—e-commerce (Townsend). Although users are prompted to accept or decline the granting of access to personal information when the permission box pops up, it is unlikely that users will read the new terms. Townsend suggests most Internet users have been trained to bypass the fine print and get to the bottom line, clicking anything necessary to get them to what they were initially trying to do. Facebook cannot be blamed for users failing to read the fine print, can they? Based on Townsend’s research on the subject of privacy and recent changes made by the company, it seems Facebook is focusing on profiting from the personal information of its users. The value of contact information and personal details that are provided on the website so freely serves as one of the company’s “greatest potential revenue streams for the future” (Townsend). While Facebook is protecting itself by adding new terms to the permission box that pops up when users access developer applications, it may not only be Facebook benefiting from the personal details being transmitted. Townsend describes rogue applications that are intended to farm user information by pretending to be something they are not. Facebook claims to carefully monitor scams (“Facebook”) such as faux applications that gain access to users information in this manner, but it could take several days before the application is caught and eliminated; meaning countless users at the hands ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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