Facebook is a social network platform cum organization. It is arguably one of the largest social networks as demonstrated by its decision to go public through listing its share in the stock exchange. This social network site offers its subscriber an opportunity to socialize; by sharing messages, photos, connections and links to other networks or sites. It can also act as a business sites through advertisement of various product and services on its site.
Online based organizations have to contend with a daunting task of ensuring the data they have for their clients is free from intrusion by other agents without the consent of the client. Facebook has instituted a number of key measures to enhance privacy of its subscribers. Measures such as use of password, limited access to another person’s wall if you are not connected and signing to the Facebook’s terms and conditions is geared toward ensuring the data they hold on behalf of their subscribers is safe and confidential.
One of the notable privacy issue concerning Facebook came in 2010 when Wall street journal indicated in its report that it had come to learn that several Facebook applications were allowing access to persons’ names or in some instances their acquaintances names to marketers and online tracking companies. The journal accused the ten applications which include games such as Farm Ville of transmitting IDs to some third parties. The immediate response from Facebook management was that of downplaying the issue and hinted that the journal was exaggerating on the issue. One of the official at the company indicated that the fact that you know another persons’ user ID does not necessarily allow you to access the user’s private information without his/her consent.
The company came up with four teams who were tasked of addressing abusive conducts on the company’s social network. The access team was tasked with responsibility of assisting users whenever their accounts have been hacked or impersonated by a rogue user. Hate and harassment team deals with hatred speech, scams are addressed by the abusive content team while safety team deals with any violent and harmful conduct by the subscribers.
Facebook was largely influenced by the fact that, there was intense pressure from various quarters on the issue of privacy. The privacy issue was an issue in public domain and thus it required holistic and timely response from the company. This was the period the company was planning to list its shares in the New York stock exchange and any public relation issues was being looked keenly to ensure it did not jeopardize the company’s prospect in the stock market. As part of regulatory requirement for privacy of data a company holds, the company did not want to incur any liability that might ensue a violation of such a requirement. The company owes its subscribers a duty of care and therefore, they were obliged to take remedial measures to such accusation of privacy concern.
It is my considered view that the company acted within its limits and capability. Online based companies are faced with a gigantic challenge of maintaining privacy of data they hold in trust of their client. This challenge is even bigger for companies with mammoth subscribers such as Facebook. To manage such a huge volume of data is a big deal and a few challenges are expected once in a while. That notwithstanding, the company ought to have undertaken a proactive measure in addressing the issue of privacy. A good management should anticipate challenges their organization might face in future and erect measures of addressing such challenges. Such proactive techniques are more effective than reactionary techniques.
Current Trends of Protection of Privacy in the Internet
Advent of internet has been a phenomenon. It is literally all over the world and both corporate and individuals have embraced internet services as an integral part in their lives (Jennings & Fena, 2000). The invention has come with its own challenges especially on the aspect of privacy of data circulating online. Personal data can be misused if not well protected with an adequate policy. Individual and corporate alike need to device mechanisms of tackling the issues related to privacy intrusion (Hunter, 2002). Cyber criminal have invented sophisticated tactics and they do not hesitate to raid personal data whenever an opportunity arise.
Companies and individual are therefore left with no other option but to institute elaborate measures to guarantee confidentiality of information in the internet. The latest suggestion on protection of privacy for personal data involves use of a strong password that is made up of numbers, letters, symbols of different cases; closure of unused account will limit liability and vulnerability to hackers (Klosek, 2000). You should also ensure you cull list of your friends. One should also shred documents that are sensitive such as credit card or health saving account.
Countries have devised elaborate legal frameworks aimed at protecting information in the internet for their governments and citizens. These legal networks contain punitive measures for violation of terms and conditions of online engagement. Basic safety policies in various corporate have been adopted such as limited access to sensitive accounts to only a few personnel, data back up and physical security to information technology infrastructures (Black, 2002). It’s important to ensure you surf from the sites that are trusted. Use of anti-virus is also important in safeguarding personal data.
Black, S. K. (2002). Telecommunications law in the Internet age. San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.
Hunter, R. (2002). World without secrets: Business, crime, and privacy in the age of ubiquitous computing. New York: J. Wiley.
Jennings, C., & Fena, L. (2000). The hundredth window: Protecting your privacy and security in the age of the Internet. New York: Free Press.
Klosek, J. (2000). Data privacy in the information age. Westport, Conn: Quorum Books.
Solove, D. J. (2004). The digital person: Technology and privacy in the information age. New York: New York University Press.