What Everybody Should Know About Social Media Privacy

Social networking sites play an important role in every industry now, and your private life isn’t so private anymore. Most companies have some sort of social network site, and they almost have to in order to be successful nowadays. We live during a time when people can obtain information quickly via the Internet and social networking sites, which is both good and bad. The question is, to what extent is the information someone posts online private? You hear horror stories about students getting turned down for jobs because companies get on their Facebook and see private information; this issue has always bugged me because it seems wrong.

Now our privacy can be invaded in secret with the greatest of ease. The New York Times recently ran an article called: “Twitter Shines a Spotlight on Secret F.B.I. Subpoenas,” which mentioned that federal prosecutors have actually demanded information from Twitter about certain users in a case they investigating. They were able to do this by obtaining a secret subpoena from a federal court, and they were able to request this information without the knowledge of the people being investigated. Apparently, these types of cases are a lot more common then everyone thinks, and there are similar instances with Google and Facebook daily. One of the biggest reasons this has become so easy for the government to do is because of the US Patriot Act, and the fight against terrorism and espionage.

It's scary that our personal lives could eventually be held against us.

It’s scary that our personal lives could eventually be held against us.

Internet privacy has become a massive concern because of issues like this; however, how truly private should information be when someone posts it online? For example, if I post a picture of myself and a couple other of-age friends drinking alcoholic beverages, should companies be allowed to use these pictures against me? I suppose it depends on the picture, but it’s still a scary thought that our personal lives could be called into question and held against us for completely unrelated purposes.

Also, should social network sites be allowed to sell private information to third parties? Our information is truly valuable and these social network sites have a lot of it they could sell to make a quick buck. People need to understand that the Internet is a public forum and anything that they post can (and probably will) be used against them.

However, even though there is certain information that should be kept private, we can’t rely on Facebook or on any other websites to do this for us. If we want privacy, then we have to learn to keep certain things to ourselves!

What do you think, how much should the government is able to use these social websites to obtain information in cases like the one mentioned above? What information should be private and what should be fair game?

A lot of questions here, I’m afraid, and I don’t seem to have all of the answers. Maybe YOU can help….


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  1. Jill Tooley

    The best defense against privacy invasion is to closely guard your personal information. I’m always careful about what I share on Facebook – even though the privacy settings claim that only friends can see my profile, it’s obvious that any Facebook admin would be able to see it as well, and they could give out or sell that information if they really wanted to. I mean, I have nothing to hide, but I would prefer not to reveal everything about myself to the entire world!

    People should be more aware of the information they share online…I’ve seen phone numbers and home addresses plastered on some of my friends’ profiles! I wouldn’t share that information on Facebook in a million years. With a bit of discretion, we can avoid some of these privacy issues. 🙂

    Good post!

  2. Alex

    If you put it on the Internet, then you are putting it out to the public, plain and simple. Good post chauncey.

  3. Joseph Giorgi

    Great post, and great point!

    I’d say that social media in general is a can of worms. Online privacy is becoming more and more of a concern for people, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. In a similar way, issues like copyright infringement and “net neutrality” are currently sparking some serious debate as to what role government agencies should play in determining the lengths our freedom on the interwebs. But that’s another can of worms entirely.

    In any case, when it comes to our personal information, this blog is absolutely right. It’s definitely safest to “keep certain things to ourselves.” Sooner or later, people are going to have to learn that the hard way.

    The times, they are a-changin’…

  4. LGroce

    Once its online I think anything could and probably will be used against you if the company is serious about cracking down on social medias. As an employee of the company you are also representing the company you work for, like it or not. It may seem unfair, but if you don’t want someone to find out something about you, don’t share it with the entire world. Take it down!

  5. Bret Bonnet

    Do what bubba does!

    Wear a tin foil hat at all times!

    Let’s face it, the only way to remain out of mind and out of sight these days is to remain offline, use cash only, and use analog telephones.

    The second you’re plugged into the grid it’s like Minority Report all over again!


  6. Big6

    Very enlightening article on social media privacy, very informative. Thanks for sharing.

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