Currently, Facebook and Instagram are undoubtedly the most popular sites that records the highest number of likes. Despite the massive number of users, the applications have been unable to assure users of their privacy. Over the past few years, Facebook has come under sharp scrutiny over its failure to create an environment where user accounts and profiles remain private. Various actions by Facebook, committed without seeking the consent of users, have put the privacy of Facebook users in risk.
Unlike the social media platforms, application used within corporation have different layers of security which assures it of more security. Most importantly, most of the applications often used an intranet that can only be accessed within the organization. This limit the number of users who can access the various systems within an organization, making chance of privacy breach minimal. Most organizations also put in place mechanisms that limit the people who can view and edit data within the application. As such, the application’s principle is usually that access to data is only made when an employee really needs it.
The greatest threat to privacy in application used in a corporation is internal breach of privacy. Organizations face the threat of rogue employee accessing data in a bid to use the data maliciously, resulting in harmful effect to the organization. However, organizations often limit the access of various users through the use the segregation of duties. In an organizational framework, the steps that are often taken to limit privacy breach include the limitation of data that one person can access, maintaining a firewall, encryption of data, change of passwords regularly among other steps.
Social media sites are faced with a completely different environment, as they involve a distributed type of application, where users have the same level of access. By default, social media is application that operates in the public space, and thus privacy is limited in this scope. Taking Facebook, for example, privacy relate to the access of data of individuals users including personal posts, and information on the accounts. When making some posts and photos, a user could be of the view that they are making it to a limited audience. The introduction of default sharing makes posts open to a greater viewership. Additionally, Facebook often partners app developers and markers, creating a second level of access of personal information of users. On the other hand, Corporation rarely allow external access by different application to a firm’s data.
The current generation of users are more concerned about the impression on their profiles. Because of the need to conform and appeal the masses, some users tend to send friend request to as many users as possible, without necessarily making an effort to know who they are sending requests to. In the same breadth, in bid to grow the friendship list, some accept requests even from strangers. As a result, the users easily access private information about other users, including details such as location.
One means that can be used to deal with the inability of Social Media site to assure its users of privacy is through government intervention. In the past the US government has made it concerns over the failure of Facebook to assure its users of security. By not seeking the consent of its users when making default selection of sharing, Facebook violates the right of its users, which could extend to breach of intellectual property rights.
As a matter of principle default selection of sharing is unfair, as some users could be making some posts, with the belief that it is to a limited audience. A survey conducted on the effectiveness of self-regulation showed that it’s use was not fast enough to give protect the privacy of its users. The sharing of data obtained from a user to a third party goes to the core of this analysis. Facebook does not have a comprehensive mechanism that limit’s the sharing of information with a third party. This issue cam be resolved by the introduction of a mandatory requirement to seek consent from users before information is shared with the third parties.
With strict adherence to privacy rules, products and service marketing space on Facebook becomes limited. The limitation of the marketing space limits the number of users a brand can reach and influence their purchase decision. This would make social media undesirable to market, given requirement for consent before a company can use the data of its consumers.
For example, through the use Sponsored stories, marketers are able to use the information of users who like their page and products to market their products and services to individuals in the user’s friend list. This alone constitutes a breach of privacy because Facebook users should give consent enabling for thing information they like on Facebook to be made public. Some of the information liked on the internet may be those that would be improper is showcased to friends and thus it is essential that a user gives consent. This type of system is unattractive to marketers as it would significantly limit the number of Facebook users that a can be reached with marketing adverts.
Third party companies usually enter into a contract with most social media sites so that they develop applications to be incorporated into the platform. App developers in the past have come under fire for privacy breach through the release of personal information of Facebook users. App developers enter into contracts with various social sites so as to develop activities and social games such as Family Tree Builder, Farmville, and Texas HoldEm Poker. Within the agreement, the app developers are expected to secure their applications and safeguard the information of their users from any privacy breach. Despite the agreement, some of the applications have been shown to have been collecting the information of various users and, without the consent of the users. Some application even went a step further to transmit the information to a third party that specializes on advertising.
The information that were sent to the third parties are the “Facebook ID”, which are the numbers that are assigned to all users on Facebook. With the Facebook ID, the third-party companies are able to easily access users’ personal information, include their list of friends. With the information, advertising companies are able to flood users with dozens of advertisements, as for example, they can access the personal emails of users attached to their Facebook accounts. It is worth noting that some of the breach by app developers may not be have been intentional, as the technical challenge of complying with Facebook policy is often daunting.