The invention of the computer and the internet has subsequently changed human life. These two elements have revolutionized the way of communication and information processing among the masses. One of the main zones that have noticed growth as a result of computing and internet advancements is social media. Globally, social networking has drawn millions of users, and the number is growing as more people have access to computers, mobile phones, and the internet. People may contact friends, co-workers, and family all across the world thanks to social networking services.
Despite these advantages, social media users have severe security and privacy concerns. This article will investigate the privacy and security threats that users face. To accomplish this goal, social media will be explained and examples of social media will be presented. This will be followed by a problem section, which will focus on the privacy and security vulnerabilities inherent in social media, such as identity theft, surveillance, and fraud, among other cybercrimes. The benefits and drawbacks of social media will be examined, and solutions to security and privacy concerns will be presented.
SOCIAL MEDIA – OVERVIEW
People utilize social media to engage in interactive discourse using online and mobile communication technology (Bradshaw & Keefer, 2007). Web-based technologies include social networks (such as Facebook and Instagram), blogging platforms (such as Word Press and Typepad), wikis (such as Wikipedia and Wikia), and business/technical networks (Linkedln among others).
Even though social media has always helped us to stay connected, irrespective of the huge distance, time, or monetary constrictions, certain privacy or security issues loom the efficacy of social media. In this context, privacy refers to sensitive, vital, and unreachable personal material to other members of the public. As a result, social media may be considered an excellent instrument for increasing and supporting globalization. This is because social media technologies enhance worldwide contact and engagement, hence fostering international ties.
PRIVACY AND SECURITY ISSUES
Social media security and privacy issues are divided into behavioral and technological difficulties. One of the concerns with social media is the incursion of privacy. This has been linked to technical improvements that have made the invasion of privacy not just possible, but also practicable. For example, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, among others, have established a channel through which personal information may be easily accessible by others, making privacy violations easier. To further, Castro claims that there have been instances when internet firms have collected personal information data from these sites and used it in ways that violate users’ privacy.
Personal information is sometimes stolen and disseminated to other parties without the user’s knowledge or consent. Personal information distribution under such situations is a violation of one’s right to privacy. Similarly, there is no way to ensure anonymity when utilizing social media. People were previously urged to adopt false names on social networking sites to hide their true identities. However, most sites now use an arm-twisting strategy, forcing visitors to use their genuine identity and information when registering on these sites. People are urged to reveal their genuine names and personal information before becoming members of the online community through technical specifications and registration procedures. Furthermore, social networking sites such as Facebook disclose users’ IP addresses without their knowledge every time they use their services. One of the primary benefits of social media is that it provides a forum for individuals to freely exchange ideas, information, and opinions. This postures a major national and personal security and privacy hazard. This is because the majority of information is posted in public domains, where it may be read by a large number of individuals. As a result, individuals may respond badly to such information, resulting in widespread fear. There are, for example, remarks and communications that advocate extremism. Terrorism activities may result from such information if individuals are misled into believing that injustices are occurring and that they must act. Furthermore, photographs and comments posted on social networking sites may cause shame in the future and may jeopardize the careers of many individuals if utilized incorrectly. Because of the advances in technology, spying has been made much easier, especially through social media where people generally reveal their preferences and lifestyles. Stalkers collect such information for their benefit to invade the privacy of the people. As a result, social media encourages social evils like snooping and stalking which makes it even more dangerous especially for children.
Social media platforms enable users to socialize and engage with minimal effort. However, there are some privacy issues that individuals face as a result of utilizing various social media platforms, such as social media sites. Throughout this analysis, it has been established that the majority of consumers are uninformed of the privacy and security dangers they face when using the internet. However, the truth remains that material uploaded on social media is vulnerable to being viewed by both intended and inadvertent audiences worldwide. As a result, Flint (2009) contends that material uploaded on such medium cannot be regarded as private because the primary purpose is to share such information. This is compounded by the fact that people frequently post personal data without being compelled to do so. As a result, people on social media are the builders of their publicity. To tackle the safety and protection of private information shared on social media, makers of programs such as Facebook have developed rules outlining how private details placed on their websites are utilized.
This policy also discloses those parties who may have access to personal information, as well as the safeguards put in place to protect this information and people’s right to privacy. Furthermore, there are data protection laws that aim to safeguard internet users’ privacy from hostile commercial organizations and criminals. Most of these rules require that there be an appropriate purpose before a third party handles an individual’s personal information (Brogan, 2010). However, for such rules and regulations to be effective, users must study and get acquainted with them to perform the necessary steps. According to Fischer-Hubner (2008), the fast growth of social media makes it safe to believe that they will be the primary mode of communication in the future. This is mostly because they are inexpensive, time-saving, and simple. With this in mind, it’d be good to enact tougher rules and procedures that protect consumers’ information.
This article sought to investigate the privacy and security concerns raised by social media. The talks given here indicate that social media users freely publish personal information that may be utilized by bad criminals and companies to damage individuals’ privacy and security in the real world. It has also been found that users publish personal information on social media because they have a false feeling of security.
Governments, criminals, and even employers may use such information to extort, profile, and surveil people. Even though there are laws and procedures in place to safeguard users’ information from such vices, individuals should exercise caution and filter the information they put on social media, since it becomes public as soon as it is uploaded. By doing so, users are better positioned to avoid the negative consequences of sharing personal information on social media.
Author’s Name: Priyanshu Parth, (Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), Hyderabad)