Social Media's Ethical Concerns

December 29, 2013 6:16 AM

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Social Media's Ethical Concerns

A lot of people find it hard to delete their social media accounts and stop using these kinds of sites. But there are many who are successful and doing it, and so it is important to know more about the principles and morals behind using social media sites and platforms.

The most popular social media site is Facebook. It is important to think about whether Facebook is “ethical” or not; whether the things that can be done on Facebook follow a set of principles of right conduct.

One of the most common criticisms directed towards Facebook and other social media sites is that they prompt us to share a lot about ourselves, our experiences, likes, the things we do on a daily basis, feelings, and then sell this data that we created.

It is as if Facebook is like a company that gets a lot of work from users that aren’t getting paid. There’s also something sinister about Facebook using all of our personal data and turning it into large data statistical groups. Furthermore, there are apparently many privacy concerns in relation to this personal data collection by social media sites.

On a psychosocial note, some critics point out that by commenting, poking and liking on Facebook, humans become less lively, authentic communication is lost and replaced by short messages and acronyms that lack emotion.

People have complained about new technologies in the past, but Facebook is a different kind of cattle with its ability to empower our social interactions and make money out of these online communications.

Granted that this is a main anxiety source for many people, one possible solution is to just run off from Facebook. However, leaving the site doesn’t mean all your data will disappear from the servers of the company. You agreed to the terms of service (which you probably didn’t read) when you signed up for Facebook, and they will use that data even when you’re no longer using your account.

It’s also hard to leave Facebook because it has become an easy way to get up to date with the happenings of your family and friends, including invitations, pictures and latest news. Furthermore, there’s no other social networking site as of the moment that has more of your loved ones in them.

The government can come up with measures to limit Facebook’s use of personally identifiable information. One example is a California legislation which allowed kids “to request that that their data be deleted from social media sites before they reach the age of maturity.”

In addition, European Union has legislations which allow non-US and non-Canadian citizens to retrieve all the data they own that is being held by Facebook. This is called the European data protection law, which is not limited to Facebook but includes all companies that hold personal data, granting them the right to access their data.

Another possibility is to get out of the Facebook and Twitter craze and use other social networking sites that care about your personal data. One such site is Diaspora, “a free personal web server that implements a distributed social networking service.”

With this new social media service, you get to choose where your data will be hosted, so that if you are capable of doing so, you can choose to host your data on a server you trust, maybe even host your own data. Moreover, this social media site is open source.


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