The various concerns surrounding social networking sites are nothing new by any stretch of imagination; however, it appears that different people vary in expectations when the idea of social networks and privacy is coined. The question of privacy of internet users is something that majority of the advocates of technology are never aware of what they call private in their life. It pains many to bring into their attention that silicon icons including Mark Zuckerberg have publicly acknowledged that privacy is dead in the world we are living today. This is actually a casualty of the cult of the social. It is thus clear that the future of every internet user is in the word, social since everyone and everything in the internet is becoming collaborative. On this future word social network, every individual will always know what everyone else is doing and then privacy will be outdated. Social network is without doubt the intelligence agency for the 21st century. However, it is considerably not right for the social service providers to work against their provisions. What is considered private should always remain private and companies at social servicing should always work in accordance to their provisions. However, there is no doubt that privacy died in the 21st century.
In his essay, Lori Andrews confirms with no doubt that in the world we are living today privacy is dead. She considers the live that we live today to be a combination of totalitarianism and technology. She explains how the smart phones and social networks are diverting personal information of internet users to data aggregators. Data aggregators track every aspect of internet users, from personal considerable private issues to what we like or dislike in our life experience (Andrews 710).
Andrews also gives an account of personal experience on how her confidential legal move to sue a company was leaked out though she had tried her level best to ensure its privacy. She trusted the various websites that betrayed her trust by leaking the confidential information about her intention to sue the company. Similarly, various social network users today trust the various websites they are using of which Andrews confirms that such companies are never trustworthy since they deliver the information of their clients to data aggregators for business and other issues of interest. It is thus clear that everything about social networking is a business between service providers and data aggregators (Andrews 711).
What surprise Andrews are the actions of the social service providers to invade into the private life of individuals without their consent. As a legal professional, she considers this as trespass as it constitutes illegal access of personal data and invasion of privacy. In legal aspects, trespass is a criminal offence that has legal grounds necessitating legal actions against the perpetrator. However, it is too unfortunate that just as her privacy was invaded and had nothing to do about it, every other individual today can do nothing about the invasion of privacy as perpetrated by social service providers without notice or warrant. Andrews alleges behavioral advertising as being behind the fate of privacy invasion. Personal data is a tradable item of trade in the current industry since advertisers are constrained by the little knowledge that they have about their clients in their attempts to deliver goods and services (Clark 105). Advertisers and business people are in great need of personal information about the desires and habits of their potential customers for the sake of delivering demand driven services and goods. This is usually achievable via behavioral advertising and online tracking of consumers’ activities aimed at delivering tailored advertising.
The massive profits that companies make through improvement of their services and goods delivery confirms that the various technological websites that we provide our private information are trading that information at our innocence. Statistics as in accordance to Andrews show that, in 2010, behavioral advertising was utilized by 85% of advertising agencies in the United States of America and the clinking to this advertising is due to its effectiveness in achieving its goals and objectives. A considerable percentage, 63% of those agencies confirm that targeted advertizing increased their revenues by significant amounts, 30% of the agencies report that behavioral advertising raised their revenues by more than $50,000. In the same year, the advertising bills paid to internet advertising mostly the social network providers exceeded that of magazine by $3.2 billion. During this time, the United States internet users received 1.1 trillion advertisements display estimated to cost the sponsors $2.7 billion (Andrews 709). It is through trading data aggregation social service providers like facebook make profits. The hundred billions social service provider generates its money from its actions of being a linkage between advertisers and its database users’ personal information. Facebook uses its users’ personal information about likes, websites frequently visited, interests and contact information as the building block for its advertising platform which it trades with other companies in need.
The rate at which people display their information is however detrimental in that various personal information can sound bad if displayed to various authorities. The illegal acts that people do and communicate to friends or any other person of interest can land someone to jail if displayed to the law enforcing agencies. It is thus important for someone to understand that the world we are today is more than a global village as the usually allege.
Laurie Thomas Lee acknowledges that the privacy issues of people are at the center of polarized argument due to social media. The advocates of privacy lay arguments every day demanding for the protection of online privacy of internet users because the public as at the present is very much concerned of their privacy while touring across the internet. It is evident that various individuals across the globe are very much mindful about their online privacy and thus they try all that they can to protect their privacy. Lee records that, 2 thirds of the social media users are concerned that they are losing control over their critical private issues (Lee 146). Social security issues of internet users are taking a different angle at the contemporary world today, as every individual has grown obsessed with the internet.
The rising concerns of social security are beefed up by the rising spill of personal information to the unauthorized hands. Various people today get themselves at the middle things that they never thought could reach the public. Lee recognizes the rapid increase of the social networks and the exposure of privacy that every visitor of social networks is risking losing. The author acknowledges that the earlier phrase that technological advance has made the world a global village was not true until the discovery of social networks. Social media revelation of private life of individual including the instant revelation of the place a person could be chatting or servicing internet. As much as individuals are championing for social media, the author reveals that the social media providers are the master privacy attackers and it is too unfortunate that they never inform their clients whom they flatter that their information is private as per the terms and policies of the engagement. Majority of social network users have been wondering how the social network providers make revenue but they have never wondered that it is their privacy that is traded. The social network providers like facebook, which are growing popular, sell the private information of their clients to the global advertisers (Lee 146). Lee is not positive about this as he recognizes it as an illegal and an illicit act.
Lee and Andrews are in consensus on the fact that social media owners like Mark Zucklerberg who is mentioned in both texts trade personal information of their users. Just as Andrews presents, Lee confirms that privacy is dead because the social network service providers argue that the era of privacy is gone because various individuals are willing to give out their personal information. The two are not positive about invasion of privacy and address it as a criminal issue and against the terms and conditions of the engagement between the users and the providers of social networks.
In conclusion, social media though it has positively shaped the way people relate, socialize and communicate; it has also invaded the privacy of its users making the rules of engagement detrimental and void. Social media has thus made privacy an illusion and privacy protection is thus an oxymoron. However, various social media users are never happy with this but it is too unfortunate for them because they have nothing to do to counteract the tyranny.
Andrews, Lori. I know who you are and I saw what you did: Social networks and the death of privacy. Simon and Schuster, 2012.
Clark, John R. "Social media and privacy." Air medical journal 29.3 (2010): 104-107.
Lee, Laurie Thomas. "PRIVACY AND SOCIAL MEDIA." The Social Media Industries (2013): 146.