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Ethical Issues Of Internet Privacy Media Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 2536 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Privacy is a status wherein an individual can work on his/her information in seclusion, resulting in a selective revelation of ones identity and information. Privacy can mean anonymity in case a person wants to remain unidentified. Privacy can also be related to the security aspect of an individual or information. The definitions of privacy can differ across individuals and cultures. The invasion of privacy can be avoided by the issue of privacy laws.  [1] 

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Internet, which hosts an enormous information base, has given rise to the concept of information privacy. The vast information on the Internet faces security needs. Unauthorized access to the information is undesirable. Data privacy refers to the association between the technology and the legal rights related to it. Whenever any information about a person or a person’s data is stored, privacy needs arise. Internet privacy is the control one has over what information about oneself, the person wishes to disclose. Internet privacy refers to having control on the access to information over the internet. [2] 

Ethical Issues concerning social networking sites: facebook.

Internet privacy comes on the scene when it comes to website users giving out their personal details on the Internet. There are several issues about whether third parties should be allowed to store or read emails without informed consent. One of the main privacy concerns is that the third parties should be allowed to track visitors on a website or not.  Facebook have very few ways to protect and restrict the outside developers of games, quizzes etc. from accessing users profile information. [3] 

The other important Internet privacy issue concerning facebook is whether it is okay with the usersas they allow it to gather personally identifiable information on them and then display in public or give their contact information to others.

An article, ‘intelligent life on the web posted at Buzzle.com identifies two schools of thoughts on these issues. One school of thought denies the existence of Internet privacy while the other advocates the necessity of the Internet privacy. Complete anonymity is not the intent of Internet privacy. It rather intends to achieve a controlled disclosure of one’s personal information. Internet is a network of networks and when a person uses the Internet, he/she connects to it and is identified by an address. In technical terms this address is known as an IP address. For security reasons, a website may wish to track these addresses of its users. Websites may collect the non-personally identifiable information of their users. [4] 

Such information is the one, which in no way can be used to uniquely identify a person. The disclosure of these forms of information is acceptable. It is actually the means by which websites track the users’ Internet activities.

There is a controversy going on the privacy issue concerning these social networking sites.there are users who are unaware that their profiles, documents, pictures,etc are being marketed by such sites.there are people who afre confused whether or not to give their contact information,upload their photos: whether facebook abides by its privacy policy and if it does then why is there an argument.social networking sites especially facebook has become a ground where the boundary line between private and public is becoming blurred.By hacking one’s account and gaining access to all the information posted by one can be gained.This poses threat as well as fear for the users.Some people fear the fact that they have a visibility over the Internet for such reasons.

“It’s clear that privacy issues are top of mind for Facebook, and yet we found serious privacy gaps in the way the site operates,” says Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart in an article posted on office of the privacy commission of Canada website.

The investigation, prompted by a complaint from the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, identified several areas where Facebook needs to better address privacy issues and bring its practices in line with Canadian privacy law.

It directs attention to the problem that when the user deactivates his account from facebook.it does not delete it.the information is still contained on the page although it may not be visible to the user.

A special issue of the Journal for Computer-Mediated Communications was dedicated to studies of social network sites. [5] 

it is need of the hour that these sites rise to action.facebook needs to define the trade-of demarcating line between what’s public and what’s private. Internet privacy is indeed important in case of the revelation of personally identifiable information on facebook.


Social networking has always been exisiting.however, online social networking came to the surface in 1995 when the first social networking site was established.Ever since, the number has been increasing at a pace that is unimaginable.

According to Wikipedia there are around 200 social networking sites in existence today.these sites offer different features and are of various types and dedicated to different groups like affinity groups, etc

We can take a sneak peek into the future of social networking sites like facebook by looking at the pace at which facebook has been growing.initially, the social networking site which started off for the university students to interact with each other began to grow and today has a population that would form a number greater than that of india and china, says a BBC documentary

Constant innovation is needed in every business.the social networking sites which are innovating,offering entertaining services to the users are the ones who have the users addicted to them. facebook is one of them.

These social networking sites are forming a platform for marketing where the marketers can display their advertisements and help gain access to interested customer information to contact them. This allows them to do target marketing and is becoming a leading substitute to offline advertisement as it is cheaper and considered more effective

However, there are others who say that this is not the case. Some analysts point to the fact that with an aging group of people using the social network technology and less young people wanting to make facebook pages (as well as pages on other networks) the fate of the social networking site is to fade away.the younger generation according to them is more directed towards offline world and offline social interaction. All of this concludes to the fact that the future of social networking is gloomy and grim because now it is not thought out to be as a cool place among younger groups.

Still others see the future in social networking sites as something that depends on technology. If the technology used for the networks changes and becomes even more powerful and full featured, more young people will want to use the networks. This will increase the amount of people on the social sites, and increase revenue and customer base for those who own them. These people do not see the social networking craze as having peaked yet, because there is always the potential for better technology.

However, whatever school of thought we consider and whatever imagination we hold at the back of our mind, we simply cannot deny the impact that these networking sites are having on our daily lives.

Facebook is undergoing a huge period of growth. With more than 150,000 new users signing up daily, it is growing three times as fast as rival MySpace. Mac Zuckerberg in his interview to the TIMES magazine describes Facebook as a “social utility” rather than a “social network?”


No matter how successful a business gets, it needs to constantly change, innovate, bring in new stuff for its target users.

The facebook webpage should be made more interactive.

It should include features like: user friendly tools, details about the privacy to help the first users gain trust and confidence in it.

It should include more content on the help tool like google does.this could help ease the users and they would begin using facebook as a search site instead of google

The search tab should be made more usable by including more content to it

It should focus more attention on the privacy policy.The information of a person should be strictly confidential to that person and that person alone unless he aims to make it private.it should not be marketed by giving it to other search softwares like google

It should also ensure that developers can only access the user information actually required to run a specific application,e.g: games,quizzes,etc

It must not also disclose information of the users who are only browing through the application and not actually using it

Adding an additional feature like picture rating scale as used by major social networking sites can help it gain more attention of users.the users can rate the pictures.it can alsouse this feature to generate revenue

In order to stand different from its competitors it should adopt easily accessible softwares that can help users build their own blogs on facebook

Since many young users are into editing photos.it can capitalize on this interest by adding simple, light load and easy to use photo editors

As soon as a person deactivates his account from a group, his information should be immediately removed from the page


The basic purpose of a soial networking site is to provide a platform where different people of same interest, gendre,affinity,culture, or at least having something in common can come together and share their views, ideas and in this way make new friends.This like that of all other social networking sites forms the core product for facebook.

However in order to stand out different from the crowd such site must offer more than just the basic tools.these are the supplementary services and tools that augment the core product.

The producers of facebook augment the core product by providing supplementary features, the most important of which include:


Music player


Social interviews

Games groups events

Sales discussion boards

Quizzes poker

Social interview network directory

favourites news storage


New events


Platform for Social interaction : coresales


friends network

network directory





message boards


discussion boards

membership management tools


Facebook has started to make a series of evolutionary moves over the recent past times.technolofy keeps evolving since it is human need to see and experience change in its life.

Facebook ,like most other social networking site has been free for its users.the revenue model is based on advertisements and the users are not charged for the service.however, it is expected that since facebook has built its large userbase, it might shift to a fee based model.

But since most other sites and even its competitors like twitter,etc are not charging its users,this might pose a threat to its established user base and brand name.

The source for this cannot be quoted since it’s a discussion that is surrounding and is circulating on the web.


Although facebook has a large population of users around the world, it is still facing challenges going global.

Last year, Facebook sued German social network StudiVZ for violating copyright laws, mimicking its logo, features and service, according to German website, The Local. The two companies are currently battling out of court, but will begin trial in July if an agreement isn’t met.

Also an investigation was carried out by Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart on ethical issues concerning facebook.the details of which are posted on office of the privacy commission of Canada website. The investigation, prompted by a complaint from the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, identified several areas where Facebook needs to better address privacy issues and bring its practices in line with Canadian privacy law

The privacy issue concerning it has been brought to the surface and institutions are looking into this matter

Facebook in reaction to it has although improved on its privacy policy but still it is claimed that the issue has not been fully resolved and it needs to further provide safety to the users.

Apart from these legal and social challenges, facebook also has to deal with the challenge of competition.its direct competitors which include twitter,linkedin,etc are also rising above the surface with their increasing userbase and offering more services.

In recent news reported in US magazine, Pakistan,published on April 30,2010 ,it is reported that twitter has announced a new service called promotd tweets which would allow businesses to buy keywords that would let them show advertising messages in search results,and will help turn the service intoa profitable business.

This might be a major threat for facebook.the response for this can be taken by giving more opportunities to capitalize for the businesses so that it does not lose the base of users from business sector.

Also, If the competitors offer more privacy or come up with some more innovative tools, it’d be threatening for it. Face book must therefore constantly innovate to keep its users glued to its services. At the end of the day we all understand that no competitive advantage is sustainable. Anything can be imitated. so we cannot sit back and think of capitalizing on established user base and differentiated services for long. constant innovation and rapid response to change is the key to success for all businesses.


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