There is no denying the fact that privacy is not what it was fifty, twenty, or even five years ago. The combination of peoples’ willingness to voice every thought that pops in their head, paired with the fact that on-line sites are continually asking for more while providing less privacy options, has lead to a system in which it seems no information is “private”. This means that a lot of people feel like the man pictured below while they are on-line.
The question is, who should be blamed for the current lack of privacy on-line? While the websites and corporations have certainly contributed to said lack, I firmly believe that it is us, the individual users, that deserve most of the blame that we so quickly want to pass on others.
The most obvious, and obnoxious way, this is shown is through the posts and pictures that people put on their social networking pages. Nearly anyone who has a Facebook has seen it, that person who lets you know everything. Whether they are mad at their boyfriend for doing something or they have a political view that is just so important, people feel the need to let everyone know. The Marry Madden article found that “11% of SNS users have posted content they regret”, which to me is far to low of a number. If people were truly being honest I find it hard to believe that the number isn’t closer to 50%, but either way there is a way to get it to 0. Have a filter! Don’t put every thought you have on-line! None of these people with regrettable posts have any right to complain about privacy, because they are clearly letting to many people in all on their own. That is on them.
Another important thing to realize is that there are choices offered on the social media sites when it comes to privacy. Again referring to the Madden article, “just 2% say it is very difficult to use the controls” for privacy, yet it points out that only 56% (estimation based on averaging out the percentages given) of SNS users actually have the privacy settings turned on in full. This simply can’t be blamed on the sites themselves. The people have spoken, it isn’t that hard to figure the settings out, so if you want privacy simply use them! If privacy is such an issue, the number of people with the private settings should be between 95-100%.
Again though, I am saying that the individuals should take more blame, not that they are the only ones responsible or that they’re crying foul. Sites like Facebook are using peoples’ information and pictures (without permission) for their own personal gain and advertising. This is wrong, but at the same time I have to say, what do you expect? The Forbes article acknowledges that “Facebook is a treasure trove of personal information”. And companies, web sites, etc. have one goal, make money. So how could anyone honestly expect Facebook not to use what we are handing them? I know it is wrong, but I really think that it is something that we should have seen coming. So even in their wrong doing, I can’t help but ask all of you are you really surprised by this? Any one of us can cancel our personal Facebook account at any time. If you are really that upset, the power can easily be put back in your hands, you just have to simply click deactivate.
This probably goes against what a lot of people believe. It is definitely easy to point to the sites and say, “you’re taking away my privacy”, and if that is the case feel free to tell me.
For those who don’t want to remain private on-line, here is a little help