Social Media and Privacy Synthesis

                We live in a world that is obsessed with the internet and its services. There are billions of social media users and millions joining the platform every day. The use and effects of social media have resulted in heated debates and controversies. These social networking sites include Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, amongst others.  Despite the benefits of social media platforms, people have questioned what the media are all about. Users also want to know how the people behind the popularity of social networking sites. Also, they want to ascertain the motive and how they would relate to digital platforms. During the inception period of the internet, much was not heard about it because deliberations and plans were reserved for developers and technology experts. Ordinary people came to know about the internet after it was ready for use. Today platforms like Facebook have gained regard because people converse with others virtually and share their social lives for other users to see. With increased sharing of pictures, logging, and posting sequestered matters, some information has been leaking unknowingly to the public because we are not always alone surfing the internet. A concerned person would question self “are we obsessed with the internet to the point that we cannot notice the dangers that come with exposure? Consistent with lee Raine, most Americans are certain that their data is susceptible to leakages because they lost control of it.

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            Conversely, some believe that data leaking is attributable to our carelessness and excessive exposure to what is developing in our lives. Other groups, like myself, are certain that governments ought to keep their citizens safe.  Herein, the government should regulate the use and data shared online. There must be safety standards that control social networking sites to avoid leaking of private information.  I believe each time we shop online, Google search, or surf the internet; we are not alone. Proxies can be manipulated or hacked by criminals to draw personal information. Digitization is beneficial, but the ordinary eye cannot identify its risks. When one key in personal information or when logging in to social networking, s/he is not aware of the consequences. The sharing of personal information causes most spam messages that people receive. I do not oppose the internet or social media, but people should be cautious and aware of what they are doing. I think it is noble to keep personal information anonymous; but, is that enough to secure personal data? Above and beyond, the authorities have substantial reasons to give social media users independence, although they intervene when need be. Instances of cyberbullying cannot be left unaddressed, and that’s when authorities intervene to find culprits. In my thinking, the dark web activity can be addressed by government authorities. For users’ safety to be achieved, certain information should be encrypted. The government should have a mechanism or a generic system to identify devious and suspicious people or social media activities.

            Assuming that social media administrators and government agencies were able to monitor user’s databases, obtaining pertinent or chary information, they would identify threats that would affect internet users. With many people being apprehensive of that novelty and pointing fingers to people or authorities that would help, I believe that social media administrators are better positioned to monitor, collect data, and prevent leakage of users’ data. Zeynap Tufekci says that Facebook has been revealing private information to outsiders. Facebook is perceived as a tyrant who deletes accounts/apps created by companies then develops theirs to contest against them. The intent is to collect data and monitor how users use the internet. Anne Applebaum cites that social media users are not in control of their information. Social media companies control the information and not chargeable for what they do with the data. My standing is that authorities cannot be accused of data mining scandal as some of us think. Governments barely have hands-on data because the access to information is left for tech companies like Apple to track iPhone information. Hardly, government authorities are allowed to mine and analyze online data to uncover “rot,” investigate or track crime. Now that police “hands are tied,” it is hard to unearth messages from suspects and track their location. That said, cops should not perform seizures, frisk, or searches without a credible reason. As the 4th amendment coins, attacks, searches, and arrests should be carried out when there is a credible reason and a warrant to do so. However, social networking administrators should whistleblow suspicious information to authorities to prevent attacks.

           If social media administrators and government agencies use and protect online users’ data privacy, there is no cause of alarm that our information is susceptible to dangers. Professionalism is exercised when officials and social networking platforms maintain the confidentiality of online profiles and data. Again, they should monitor sensitive information when there is a substantial reason or for the common good. Lee Raine coins that people have different feelings about social media because their privacy is at stake. Some think that the government is not doing enough to prevent the invasion of privacy. If I was to decipher their feelings, admins and authorities should ensure sites and apps are secure or modified to secure online data. Zeynap Tufecki accuses Facebook CEO “Mark Zuckerberg” of overlooking privacy concerns. She cites that the company is making phony promises about the future, yet its users’ safety is at stake. Data mining, carried out by social media companies, is dissimilar to permitting authorities to investigate private databases. Put, social media, and online privacy concerns are perturbing based on the opinions set forth. Information shared or online profiles can be misused after data mining or leakages or used positively for the common good.

            We should be scared or worry about being searched on condition that we don’t have anything fishy to hide from government officials or data miners. However, people have the privilege right to privacy and shielded from unsolicited focus. Although it is hard to achieve total security, Strangers and cybercriminals should not get hands on private information. I think everyone must keep his/her information anonymous because some attacks are attributable to our own doing. It is hard to contemplate how one expects to be secure, yet s/he uploads numerous pictures and notes on social media location. It is unimaginable how people update status, citing what they are doing, and fail to expect the consequences. If I want to keep my life private, it is best if averted social media altogether or reveals what I want people to see. in other words, I would remove the word “social” from the term “social media.”  I think social networking sites are meant for people to connect with others, have a world experience, learn new things, and share their thoughts. Sadly, social media is not what it was intended to be because most of us are not keeping some information private. People have deviated from fulfilling their passions to please the world, which is impossible.

           In summary, the ever-growing debates about social media and privacy concerns are important because loopholes will be identified. People have learned the nitty-gritty of social networking sites from experiences, but some people are in the dark. Social media consequences are either positive or negative, depending on the user or how the audience interprets the information. Keeping information private is not a guarantee that you are safe, but privacy depends on numerous factors. Government agencies can investigate online information, which is usually concealed to unearth suspicious plans and identify crime. Mysteries on the internet can only be found after data mining and continuous surveillance of activities or information shared online. People are safe when they are prevented from danger. 

           The right to privacy is non-negotiable because the information is the basis of all malicious activities. Supporting that a person wants to keep his matters private and hidden from the public, s/he should stay anonymous everywhere.  The statement is laughable because it is next to impossible, believing that everything will remain public. After all, we can wear masks or hijabs when going to public places. People should look at the issue of privacy differently. Perceptibly, when one goes in a public place, it is undeniable that s/he will be described based on gender, age, race, or other detail. It is more like playing double standards when people decide to hide details on social media and reveal to strangers they meet physically.  Therefore, it is impossible to maintain privacy. All that is imperative is taking the right measures and be cautious.  Social media users should have a positive mindset, remain true to self, and safeguard their information.  Optimism that social media administrators and government agencies with join hands regulate online activities and curb cybercrimes is doomed.  Users are the primary elements of privacy.  They should know what, how, and when they expose too much to outsiders. It is important that they carefully investigate pages they log in to. In the contemporary world, most of us know what is apposite and what is not wrong. Safety and privacy lie in our own hands. Online users and potential handlers should take up more responsibility instead of blaming developers and government authorities. If they employ vigilance and caution, cyberbullying and other online crimes will come to an end.

Work cited

Applebaum, Anne. “Opinion | Regulate Social Media Now. The Future of Democracy Is at Stake.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 3 Feb. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/regulate-social-media-now-the-future-of-democracy-is-at-stake/2019/02/01/781db48c-2636-11e9-90cd-dedb0c92dc17_story.html.

Rainie, Lee. Americans’ Complicated Feelings about Social Media in an Era of Privacy Concerns, Pew Research Center, 27 Mar. 2018, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/03/27/americans-complicated-feelings-about-social-media-in-an-era-of-privacy-concerns/.

Senior, Jennifer. “You’re Not Alone When You’re on Google.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 17 May 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/05/17/opinion/sunday/google-privacy.html.

Sinnreich, Aram, and Barbara Romzek. “Social Media Should Serve a Free Society, Not Mine Data: Opinion.” Newsweek, 14 Apr. 2018, www.newsweek.com/social-media-mine-data-facebook-twitter-opinion-884237.

Tufekci, Zeynep. “Zuckerberg’s So-Called Shift Toward Privacy.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 7 Mar. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/03/07/opinion/zuckerberg-privacy-facebook.html.